On report about the land of America:
"Jews, there, are treated just like human beings, instead of dogs. They can work at any business they please; they can sell brand new goods if they want to; they can keep drug-stores; they can practice medicine among Christians; they can even shake hands with Christians if they choose; they can associate with them, just the same as one human being does with another human being; they don't have to stay shut up in one corner of the towns; they can live in any part of a town they like best; it is said they even have the privilege of buying land and houses, and owning them themselves, though I doubt that, myself; they never have had to run races naked through the public streets, against jackasses, to please the people in carnival time; there they never have been driven by the soldiers into a church every Sunday for hundreds of years to hear themselves and their religion especially and particularly cursed; at this very day, in that curious country, a Jew is allowed to vote, hold office, yea, get up on a rostrum in the public street and express his opinion of the government if the government don't suit him! Ah, it is wonderful."
-Twain, Mark. "The Innocents Abroad," 1869.
It bothers me to no end how too often do people nowadays completely take for granted the amazing country we live in. It's so cliche already, but the real freedoms we have here as well as the opportunities which permit us to reach as high as we are able are gifts unprecedented in all of human history. Sure, America is not perfect and there's plenty to criticize in its history and recent events, but the ideals it stands for, as embodied in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, are among the best and highest ever set in text.
So it's quite proper now to take a moment and acknowledge the great sacrifices (some with the ultimate sacrifice) given by American servicemen to protect us and our way of life. May we soon see the day when no further American soldier need give so much.