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Our View: Let's share the Fourth

Fourth of July

Good day to put division aside, treasure what we share

John Adams urged us to always celebrate this day. That's one statement from a Founding Father that shouldn't generate debate.

We're a divided country in many ways, yes, but maybe we reinforce the divisions by constantly saying so, instead of reflecting on what we share -- a nation that remains a land of opportunity and freedom unmatched.

You don't have to believe in American exceptionalism to see that we've been exceptionally blessed. For the most part, we do get to enjoy the fruit of our labors. So many in the rest of the world have to struggle much harder for much less.

We have long solved problems that continue to torment nations far older than ours. Look at Egypt, where the transfer of power is a dangerous business that leaves the nation's future in doubt. Here we have a deeply ingrained habit of settling succession at the ballot box and living peacefully with the results. We may warn of world's end if the other side wins, but we know better, and we've done this so long we take it for granted. We shouldn't.

It's a good day for those whose grandparents or parents or forebears farther back took the chance and came here, from every corner of the globe. It's a good day because we're here, and not where we might have been. It's a good day because those who came before us risked the ordinary certainty of an older world for the extraordinary possibilities of the new one. The vast majority had to be tough, enduring people because the dream wasn't given. They paid their dues and some of ours, often recorded in thick calluses, to guarantee our birthright.

It's a good day to remember those who have suffered more than calluses to keep that birthright.

And it's a good day to remember those who were here long before the first colonists, and those who were sold here. Our history sure isn't all fireworks and triumph; some of it is just godawful, much worse than today. But few of us, no matter what our lineage, would choose another nation.

So here's to a touch of Thanksgiving this Fourth of July, and a measure of kindness to one another. We can resume division on the fifth -- it's the American way -- but without blood and with a flag that flies over all of us.

BOTTOM LINE: The Fourth is a day of thanksgiving too.