The United States is evolving into a great country, but it has taken years to reach greatness.
After a few years, early Americans who were persecuted in their native land for religious reasons, became the persecutors themselves.
Some went to war to maintain slavery. After the slaves were freed, many were forced in peonage. Their poor brothers and sisters fought labor wars and formed unions to get out of the sweatshops. For years, they denied their mothers and sisters voting rights.
Foreign wars were fought to give other people freedom that some Americans didn’t have.
Factories and farms produced material goods and foods in abundance. Public schools and universities sprang up, although some citizens were first denied entrance. Production in material goods exploded and living conditions vastly improved.
We have had presidents who fought for legislation for the average person. President Franklin Roosevelt, during the Great Depression, saw the need for safety nets for working people and elderly citizens. President Truman issued an executive order to integrate the armed forces, and President Lyndon Johnson signed bills for public health care and civil rights.
As we observe Thanksgiving, let all be grateful for what progress has been made and continue to work for individual freedom, opportunities and respect for all our citizens regardless of their status in life.
Our country belongs to all its citizens, and no particular individual or group can claim or reclaim it. Young, old, black, white, brown, yellow, male, female, poor, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, independent, rich, disabled or whatever – we are all Americans.
To my fellow Americans, I wish each of you a happy Thanksgiving!
Tracy E. Williams Jr.