This is America, and even with our problems, we are still the greatest nation on earth! What makes us special? There is much that set us apart from other nations, but I think what is the most significant is the unity we display in the face of adversity.
One year ago, a couple of Chechen brothers declared war on the United States and detonated two homemade bombs during the Boston Marathon. They committed this act of terrorism as retribution for what they believe to be an American war against Islam. They wanted to kill and harm people as pay back for civilians killed by American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to fill us with fear.
Americans have debated our nation’s presence in Iraq and Afghanistan since before the terrorist attack, and we continue to discuss these policies to this day. The Chechen brothers could have become part of the discussion, but once they decided on violence instead of debate, their opinions effectively became unimportant. Their explosions had little, if any, effect on the way we look at these policies, one way or the other: Americans take pride in their ability to remain fair no matter what the circumstances.
What I find most amazing is our absolute refusal to allow this act of terror to cause division between us. Americans have a unique tendency to band together when threatened, which separates us from other people. We may not always like our neighbor, but if something befalls them, we come to their aid without question. While other people welcome the demise of a hated neighbor, Americans will defend their neighbor to the death.
Tomorrow, the Boston Athletic Association will once again hold their annual marathon, and as always, there is no shortage of runners wanting to run the prestigious race. 36,000 runners will proudly line up at the starting line to show the world we aren’t afraid. A record number of spectators will join them throughout the greater Boston area to cheer them on, to protect them from harm and to once again prove to everyone watching across the globe that America is still the greatest nation on earth!