Citizens must come together to better U.S.

Thursday marks the 237th birthday of the United States of America. What a long time ago that was and what a long ways we have come.

But it's a journey that began centuries before the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 by 13 colonies formerly claimed by Great Britain. It is a journey that began with the arrival of people from across the seas who wanted something better for themselves and, more importantly, for their progeny.

History informs us that the walk from that very point to this present day in the 21st century was not always a pretty or easy one. It is a journey pockmarked by scars, a lot of them, some deeper and more pronounced than others. There was even a period of civil war, a time when brother went against brother to finish, what historians tell us, our forefathers started in 1776. The reason or reasons why states divided and engaged in a deadly clash are often debated, even now, 150 years later, and will no doubt continue to be fodder for discussions or arguments. The fact of the matter is the nation survived.

It would not be its last test, however. It would have to rise up and face challenge after challenge throughout the 20th century.

Today, Americans are still fighting that battle, and not just on battlefields thousands of miles away. They are fighting it here, in our schools, in our courtrooms and on our streets. We don't call them soldiers. We call them police, teachers, parents, guardians and civic-minded individuals.

They are the reason the nation can celebrate July 4th. They are the ones showing us every day that a nation is not just an Army, Navy or Air Force but a sum of its parts. They are the men and women who will ensure that the United States will be around to celebrate its 238th birthday and beyond. Their dedication and hard work will see to it.

God bless America! God bless the people of these United States!