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November 13, 2001

Hello, let me introduce you to someone — old Uncle Sam. You know, not many people know who Uncle Sam is or where he came from. Well, I think it's time you found out. Let me tell you his story.

He was brought to this country in the hearts of the pilgrims in the form of hope for a new life and a chance to build a home for all who wished to be free. Sent here as criminals, slaves and cheap labor, the pilgrims fought to have their own land.

Uncle Sam was there with the first patriots when they decided to throw off the shackles of a slave state that had been forced on them. He was in the front lines fighting with the Continental soldiers for our freedom to thrive and prosper into our own nation.

When Washington crossed the Delaware, Uncle Sam was there in the hearts of the men, providing courage to keep them warm. He kept alive the idea of freedom and the hope for liberty in the darkest hours.

Uncle Sam was inspiration to Thomas Jefferson when he wrote the Declaration of Independence, stating that America will be a nation that is and always will be free for all people, under God, with the inalienable right to believe and live as they wish.

He was there standing with Old Glory, the American standard, at Bull Run, watching the country whose freedom he had fought for and won, be torn apart by Civil War.

When a man decided that this idea of freedom and American strength needed an image to be looked upon, he gave Uncle Sam a name and a body to be recognized for what he stood for. Uncle Sam was charging up San Juan's sister hill, Kettle, with a loud and patriotic young man who would one day be the people's choice for president of the United States of America.

It was ol' Uncle Sam who watched as Europe tore itself apart by war, and decided to step into the breach and help our new allies defeat the armies of Germany and Italy. When the country entered the Great Depression, he kept the fires of hope burning in the entire nation.

When the Axis powers attempted to conquer the Allied nations, he went with his fellow countrymen to fight and defend the freedom of all people. Uncle Sam sent Old Glory and American men to Korea, Vietnam, Beirut and several other countries to help them in their fight for freedom.

Now, after the attack on Sept. 11, Uncle Sam is stronger than ever because the American people have realized that to remain the most powerful and free nation on earth, we have to remember and appreciate the sacrifice made by our ancestors to provide our hard-won freedom. America cannot, must not, forget what Uncle Sam stands for. The day we stop believing in our nation is the day when this old warrior will die. If you will remember your national history, you will find that any country that has threatened our freedom and way of life at any time in our history has regretted meeting Uncle Sam's wrath into their future generations. So, if I am asked who Uncle Sam is, I will say that he is the representative to the American spirit.

If I am asked what makes up the American spirit, I will say that it is the people who love and are willing to give their lives selflessly to this great country of ours.

Well, I don't know about you, but if and when old Uncle Sam needs me to put my nation before myself, I will willingly go to protect my fellow Americans and my nation.

Long live America, for we represent freedom, liberty and strength.

by Christopher Hacker, Copyright © 1997-2001 The Shawnee News-Star


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