Happy Birthday America — 238 years old and going strong! One cannot deny the nation’s power and strength.
America has survived its worst politicians. Thankfully, there have also been some good ones, including 56 nervous patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 2, 1776.
George Washington, the Father of our country, had a reputation for losing every battle. The baby would have been stillborn had it not been for the Gen. Marquis de Lafayette. After saving Washington’s bacon by winning a number of important battles, he went back to France and became a leader of the French Revolution. He remains one of a select number of generals deemed hero in two countries.
Gouverneur Morris would head the committee to write the Constitution, accomplishing the next large step establishing the Union. James Madison would author the Bill of Rights. These two documents remain cornerstones of American democracy.
The Civil War, the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, then the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln — events that forged the character of America. Western expansion, the near destruction of Native Americans and the industrial revolution created a great shame while establishing America as the richest among nations.
The Spanish American War followed by World War I, the Spanish Flu epidemic and ultimately the Great Depression, which resulted in soup kitchens and poverty.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented the New Deal to ease the damage of the depression and finally the manufacturing required to fight World War II revived the economy.
President Harry Truman shocked a world by dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan and ushered in the Atomic Age.
The years after WWII were some of the most prosperous in American history. Alan Shepherd orbits in space. America catches up to the Russian space program.
However, that pride turned to tears when Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy in Dallas.
Congress enacted civil rights laws to curb discrimination against minorities. But America’s mood would turn dark with the escalation of the war in Vietnam.
Happy days again, as Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong land on the Moon and the Berlin Wall falls along with the Soviet Union.
Time magazine calls Saddam Hussein the most dangerous man in the Middle East and American troops drive his Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.
But Islamic extremism flourishes in the region and on Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists hijack four jetliners. They fly two of them into New York’s Twin Towers and one into the Pentagon. The attacks kill thousands of Americans.
In 2008 the unregulated excesses of the investment industry devastate the economy. The nation is still trying to recover.
Barack Obama is elected the nation’s first black president. Political polarization cripples the federal government. Libertarians and Tea Party conservatives exert considerable political power.
U.S. Special Forces kill Osama bin Laden at his hideout in Pakistan. Debate rages about how the U.S. should apply its incredible military power around the globe.
The economy is slowly recovering. More Americans are working again. Obama is bringing American troops home from long, expensive and mostly pointless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Americans are eternal optimists and our flexibility and hard work will move us forward to even greater prosperity.
Dr. Marc Yacht, MD is semi-retired and living in Hudson, FL.