The land of the free and the home of the brave those are more than mere words, they embody the true spirit of America. We know a liberty that many can only dream about and the opportunity to pursue our own American dream. People decry our political system and the animosity it can foster among our leaders and even our citizens. Yet I ask you, how can a nation truly be great when its government does not allow for dissent? It is in voicing our differences that we affirm our belief in the government extolled by Abraham Lincoln: "Of the people, by the people and for the people."
However, during times of peril and disaster, be they natural or man-made, those differences are cast aside. We are a nation of many, yet we stand as one. In Colonial days, the Minutemen sprung into action on a moment's notice, aiding their neighbors during the Revolutionary War. Today's minutemen wear the uniform of police officers, firefighters and EMTs, along with the clothes of the average citizen. That is the American way, and we have seen it again and again.
Just like their predecessors, 21st-century minutemen run toward danger, fueled by instincts to help those in need. We saw it on Sept. 11, 2001, as firefighters rushed up the stairs of the twin towers, and last week we watched it in Boston, when police officers and doctors leapt into the blast zone within seconds to save untold numbers of lives with their response.
America is indeed the land of the free and the home of the brave. Both distinctions have been earned and continue to be earned with the blood of patriots, refreshing Founding Father Thomas Jefferson's tree of liberty.
BENJAMIN R. MILLER
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