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6/27/11

Posted Monday, June 27, 2011, at 12:06 PM

Monday, we will gather with family and friends to celebrate the birth of America, and knowing we live in the best country in the world, I echo this sentiment. This Independence Day, as we gather for picnics or watch fireworks, let's reflect on what makes America the greatest country on the face of the earth.

For many, July 4th is a day to show our patriotism. Some will wear shirts that are red, white and blue, while others fly their flag proudly in front of their house. These are token gestures of nationalism in remembrance of what our country represents. However, the holiday has much deeper meanings.

July 4th is the day we celebrate our freedom. It is the day the colonists signed the Declaration of Independence, one of the greatest documents the world has ever known, severing our ties with England.

And yet, the Declaration's greatness is dwarfed by the courageous men who crafted and signed this important document. They risked their lives and treasure for our freedom and liberty. The colonists personify America's greatest asset then and now, her people. They were truly patriots.

Patriotism isn't derived from our political elites, but is the consequence of every American who strives to make our country a better place to live. It is exemplified in the never say die American Spirit that has made us the richest, most prosperous country the world has ever known. You've made America what it is, and shape what she will be in the future.

You are America's greatest asset. According to Walt Whitman, "The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges, or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in the people."1

The "Great Melting Pot" forming our citizenry is the key to American Exceptionalism. The pot contains a thick stew made with the talents of our citizenry and a dash of the Protestant work ethic. These ingredients have made us the most productive country in the world and will lift us out of the economic crisis we are enduring.

You are the most giving people in the world. If your neighbor is in trouble, you are the first in line to help. America's sense of community and care for humanity is unrivaled by any other country. Whenever a disaster occurs, America is there.

A prime example is the outpouring of aid to the flood and tornado victims here in Missouri. The response has been awe inspiring. Communities around the state have pulled together to assist those affected. Thousands of dollars have been raised and numerous hours of labor have been donated to help with the cleanup.

Those who have given of themselves are today's patriots. They have improved the plight of their friends and neighbors. They have exhibited a sense of community so important to the fabric of our society and the reason people flock to our country.

Robert Ingersoll said: "He loves his country best who strives to make it best."2 Those who have volunteered are truly patriotic. They have made America a better place to live, and the main reason I love America. Let's remember all of our patriots this July 4th.

As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri House. If you would like to discuss any issue, please call 573-751-3629. You can also email me at Kent.Hampton@house.mo.gov. I look forward to hearing from you.



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163rd Capitol Report
Rep. Kent Hampton - 163rd District
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