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 many things, and many people. I AM THE NATION.
I am 243 million living souls...and the ghost of millions who have lived 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 Molly Pitcher. I am John Paul Jones, the Green Mountain Boys, and Davey Crockett. I am Lee and Grant and Abe Lincoln.
I remember the Alamo, the Maine and Pearl Harbor. When freedom called I answered and stayed until it was over...over there. I left my heroic dead in Flanders Fields, on the roads of Corregidor, on the bleak slopes of Korea and in the steaming jungles of Vietman.
I am the Brooklyn Bridge, the wheat lands of Kansas and the granite hills of Vermont. I am the coal fields of the Virginias and the bluegrass farms in Kentucky, the Golden Gate and the Grand Canyon. I am Independence Hall, the Spirit of St. Louis...and footprints on the moon.
I am big; I sprawl from the Atlantic to the Pacific. My arms reach out to embrace Alaska and Hawaii, more than 3 million square miles throbbing with industry and technology. 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, Betsy Ross, Babe Ruth and the World Series.
I am 170,000 schools and colleges and 260,000 churches where my people worship God as they think best. I am a ballot dropped into a box and an editorial in a newspaper. I am the roar of a crowd in a stadium, and the voice of a choir in a cathedral.
I am Mark Twain and Stephen Foster. I am Tom Edison, Albert Einstein and Walt Disney. I am the Wright Brothers, Will Rogers and Bob Hope. I am Henry Ford, Jonas Salk, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. I am Neil Armstrong, Charles Yeager and Christa McAuliffe. Yes, I AM THE NATION, and these are the things that I am. I was conceived in freedom and, God willing, in freedom I will spend the rest of my days, PROUD TO BE AMERICAN.