Celebrating our image is important

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 5, 2002

A recent poll suggests that most Minnesotans didn't celebrate this past Independence Day holiday any differently than other years. The Sept. 11 attacks and the danger of other terrorist atrocities -- in the next few days or the next few years -- didn't appear to spark any extra patriotism in most people on what was considered our nation’s birthday.

But when the Declaration of Independence was signed nearly 226 years ago, it was less an ushering in of a new nation than it was the official start of a long ordeal in which the dedication and faith of every patriot in America would be tested. This suffering, and the way those who fought for independence endured it, contributed to the formation of our nation’s character. Despite all the trials, they refused to give up their way of life, and in the end, they won the right to govern themselves and live as they pleased.

The last year has been another character-forming -- or confirming -- experience for our nation. Americans have shown that they are willing to do what they can to respond to the challenges presented us by our enemies, but also that they will not stop living their lives because of a national threat.

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That's why many people watched fireworks, participated in parades or got together with family, as usual, and celebrated this summertime holiday in typical style.

But Americans' ability and willingness to go on living as usual will be the strongest testament to the strength of the United States of America.