Regardless of the problems that surround us, I am proud to live in the United States.
The Palm Coast Observer recently promoted our Spirit of America section on Facebook, and someone responded this way: "Spirit of America??? Are you having a laugh??? The nation is on the verge of disintegrating."
It's easy to look at the pandemic, the negativity on social media, and our increasingly polarized politics, and feel like America is not what it used to be. But I feel truly blessed to live in the United States.
The Spirit of America is freedom and independence, and it's the spirit of striving to be better. The Spirit of America is innovation, loyalty and bravery.
I choose to be an idealist. I will use July 4 as a time to reflect on the Founding Fathers' drive to be free — to rule themselves and not to be subject to a king across the ocean.
In the United States, we are blessed to have the freedom to be negative, to burn flags, to say things we know may not be true about public figures and get away with it.
We also have the freedom to be positive, to honor the ideals our country was founded on, and to praise the good we see all around us.
We are free to be selfish, or selfless.
Selflessness is one value we decided to honor in our Spirit of America section this year. COVID-19 is most likely to affect two groups: older populations and health care workers. The latter choose to put themselves in harm's way to care for your grandparents or others who may arrive at the hospital with COVID-19. They work long hours, and they deserve our gratitude. When I look in their eyes, I see ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things.
For example, Dr. Dan Hohler, assistant medical director for the emergency department at AdventHealth Palm Coast, is aware of the risk he takes every day.
“ have been working hard to keep patients and doctors safe, and have had to take extra precautions myself because I have an 8-month-old baby, a 6-year-old, and an immunocompromised wife at home," Hohler said.
I am proud to live in a community that honors its heroes.
I am proud to live in the United States, where we declare that the experiment of a nation run by its own people has succeeded with flying colors: red, white and blue.