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Wade Heath Let's celebrate America, land of the free — and home of Google, Ford and Starbucks

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Wade Heath

Posted: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 12:00 am

On July 4, 1776, the world changed.

It was, until that time, unacceptable for man to govern himself. To act on one's own free will and accept responsibility for one's actions was but a dream.

But that dream was made real by men who were starving for liberty and still had hope enough to rebel against a tyrannical government and declare a new land, free from the shackles of oppression they all once shared.

Thomas Paine said, "The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind."

The United States of America was the prayer for the future.

God is good.

A person set free with the gift of liberty has allowed this country to be a shining example for the rest of the world.

What has been done since is pretty well known, but just in case you need a refresher:

The swivel chair. Bifocals. The suspension bridge. Pencil erasers. The airplane. Circuit breakers. Cowboy hats. Jeans. The phonograph. Refrigeration. Cash registers. Microwaves. The wrench. Electric fans. AC power sockets and plugs. The smoke detector. Zippers. Tractors. Radio. Coffee percolator. Cotton candy. Shopping carts. The thumbtack. Remote control. Hearing aids. The teddy bear. Solar compass. Air conditioning. Automatic transmission. Banana splits. Fire hydrants. The traffic light. Supermarkets. The toaster. Bulldozers. Digital video recorders. Steam shovel. Power steering. Garage door openers. The corn dog. Sunglasses. Air traffic control. Multiplane camera. Bass guitar. The digital computer. Dishwashers. GPS units and so much more.

We the people are a powerful lot.

As our Declaration of Independence states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Set a man free and watch him dream, create and inspire.

John Adams understood that when he later said the following about our constitution: "A constitution founded on these principles introduces knowledge among the people, and inspires them with a conscious dignity becoming freemen; a general emulation takes place, which causes good humor, sociability, good manners, and good morals to be general."

He added, "That elevation of sentiment inspired by such a government, makes the common people brave and enterprising. That ambition which is inspired by it makes them sober, industrious, and frugal."

In America's 235-year history, ordinary citizens have utilized founding beliefs to better their country and prosper for the greater good, people like Henry Ford, of the Ford Motor Company, Bill Gates, of Microsoft, Alexander Graham Bell, creator of the first practical telephone, or Andrew Carnegie, a driving force behind the country's steel industry.

We the people of these United States have advanced the standard of civilization by our innovation and our unyielding pursuit of perfection; perfection like windshield wipers, created by Mary Anderson, or Alice Parker, who improved the gas heating furnace.

Without America the world wouldn't have Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Disney, Starbucks, Apple, Best Buy, UPS, Caterpillar, Wal-Mart,, General Mills, Oracle, Google, Chrysler, News Corp., State Farm, Boeing, Nike or Chevron.

The United States still hosts four spots in the top 10 richest people in the world, because in this country you can do anything and be whoever you want to be. We have a rewarding capitalist society that has allowed our country to become a global super power.

If you'd like, you can live in the gutter or in a mansion. The choice is yours.

We have more stars in our movie factory known as Hollywood then there are in the sky.

Here you can say what you want, when you want, so long as it isn't obscene. While we may have been founded on Christian principles, you are free to worship as you please.

The ethical highroad is our most sought after avenue of travel. We believe everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

And while we've been through a lot in the last decade of this American experiment, the future is still ours to have if we so desire it.

George Washington said, "Rise early, that by habit it may become familiar, agreeable, healthy, and profitable. It may, for a while, be irksome to do this, but that will wear off; and the practice will produce a rich harvest forever thereafter; whether in public or private walks of life."

We the people are the answer to the worst oppression, fear, terror, pain and tyranny any force of evil could ever throw our way. The Founding Fathers of this nation knew when they signed the Declaration of Independence that they were embarking on something pretty special.

On this Fourth of July we should remember that a prosperous future, much like our prosperous past, is within us.

It is still morning in America — if we want it to be.

Columnist Wade Heath, of Lodi, is editor of He can be contacted at

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