I AM THE NATION
by Otto Whittaker
"I was born on July 4, 1776, and the Declaration of Independence is my birth certificate. The bloodlines of the world run in my veins, because I offered freedom to the oppressed. I am the nation!
I am 250 million plus living souls and the ghosts of millions more who have lived and fought and died for me.
I am Nathan Hale and Paul Revere. I stood at Lexington and fired the shot heard around the world. I am Washington, Jefferson, and Patrick Henry. I am John Paul Jones, the Green Mountain Boys and Davy Crockett. I am Lee, Grant, and Lincoln.
I remember the Alamo, the Maine, Pearl Harbor and 9/11. When freedom called, I answered and I stayed until it was over, over there. I left my heroic dead in Flanders Fields, the rock of Corregidor, on the bleak slopes of Korea, in the steaming jungles of Vietnam, and the desert sands of Kuwait.
I am the Brooklyn Bridge, the wheat lands of Kansas, the granite hills of Vermont. I am the coal mines of the Virginias and Pennsylvania, the fertile lands of the West, the Golden Gate and the Grand Canyon. I am Independence Hall, the Monitor, the Merrimac, and the Challenger.
I am big. I sprawl from the Atlantic to the Pacific.. .more than 3 million square miles of land throbbing with industry. I am more than 2 million farms. I am forest, field, mountain, and desert. I am quiet villages and cities that never sleep.
You can look at me and see Ben Franklin walking down the streets of Philadelphia with his bread loaf under his arm. You can see Betsy Ross with her needle. You can see the lights of Christmas and hear the strains of "Auld Lang Syne" as the calendar turns.
I am Babe Ruth and the World Series. I am 200,000 schools and colleges and more than 300,000 churches where my people worship God as they choose. I am a ballot dropped into a box, the roar of a crowd in a stadium, and voice of a choir in a cathedral. I am an editorial in a newspaper and a letter to Congress.
I am John Glenn and Neil Armstrong and their fellow astronauts who whirl through the spaces above my head. I am Eli Whitney and Stephen Foster, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Billy Graham.
I am Horace Greeley, Will Rodgers, and the Wright brothers. I am George Washington Carver, Jonas Salk, and Martin Luther King, Jr. I am Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Walt Whitman, and Thomas Paine.
Yes, I am the nation and these are the things that I am. I was conceived in freedom and, God willing, in freedom I shall spend the rest of my days.
May I always possess the integrity, the courage, and the strength to keep myself unshackled, to remain a citadel of freedom and a beacon of hope to the world."
May God bless this great country! And may God find this country worhty of His favor!