Our National Park Service turns 100 this year. No country on earth has the sheer number and diversity of city, county, state and National parks that we do. From undersea ocean reefs, to burning deserts, from rugged mountain peaks to the only rainforest on American soil, we cover it all.
We built the Hoover Dam, Panama Canal, Empire State Building and transcontinental railroad. We build harbors, bridges, highways and mountain bike trails. If someone says 'You can't build that', we do so anyway.
'Boldly going where no man has gone before'. We might not have been the first into space, but we were the first to set boot on the surface of a planet not our own. And send telescopes into deep space. Land a rover on yet another planet, and explore that. One word - Voyager.
Wherever disaster strikes in the world, the American Red Cross, American military and Americans respond, usually within 24 hours. Even if the disaster occurs in countries not friendly towards us.
We make movies, write books and perform music and magic that people all over the world clamor to see and read.
American agriculture feeds the world. Not only do we send the food we produce to every corner of the globe, we send our farmers and ranchers to developing countries to show them how to grow their own food. Our innovations in producing food are unmatched by any country.
We build cool cars that most people can afford. The words 'muscle car' belongs to Americans. Go to the furthest corner of the world and say 'Harley Davidson'. They will know in an instant of what you speak.
We have colleges and universities that attract the best and brightest minds from all over the globe. Those same universities, along with research facilities, solve problems and invent technology that is truly mind boggling.
Opportunities abound for those with the intelligence, grit, determination and drive to do fantastic things with their lives. People come to America from all over the world because they don't have that opportunity in their native land.
We can, and do, speak out against our government when we feel it's not serving our needs, and we do so without fear of retaliation, imprisonment or death. Our system of government isn't perfect; its populated with human beings, who aren't perfect either. But it's the best we have, and somehow, we always manage to make it work, mostly.
Our great country isn't perfect either. We have our blemishes, just as all countries do. But it has ALWAYS been great. To think, and say, otherwise is the pessimistic view. It's demeaning for those who love our country, warts and all, and for those who try, without giving up, to get rid of those warts. It's heartbreaking to those who's hearts swell with pride and joy every time they see our flag standing tall and proud. It's a slap in the face to those who wear that flag on the shoulder of their uniforms, those who protect their fellow Americans.
America is now, and forever will be, the greatest nation on earth. We have proven that over 240 years of existence. And, we will continue to prove it, far into the future. As Rudwan Dawod, a man from Sudan who becomes an American citizen today in Eugene, Oregon said, "Becoming an American is a privilege, and is a very powerful thing to do."