Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
These words, carved into the base of the Statue of Liberty, serve as a greeting to immigrants searching for a new life in America.
Yet, the verse serves as a commandment to all Americans; a mandate to shine the light of liberty.
What other nation in the world invites the" huddled masses", the "homeless" and "the wretched refuse" to its shores?
What other nation lifts its lamp to welcome such people?
What other nation can proclaim to be a "golden door."
Only the United States.
A nation that began with the unshakable desire to "create a more perfect union" has become a nation that has created a more perfect world.
For 225 years, the citizens of our great country have lifted their lamps, shining the light of the American spirit.
When earthquakes strike in the West, tornadoes and floods hit the Plains and hurricanes decimate the East, the American spirit comes to life.
Neighbor comforts neighbor.
Stranger aids stranger.
Acts of bravery and gifts of kindness shine bright.
Yet, the glow of the American spirit does not stop at our borders.
When refugees flee Somalia, relief teams from the United States provide aid and assistance.
When children are starving in Ethiopia, Americans raise money for food.
When orphanages need to be built in the Dominican Republic, young American men and women build them.
When disease is rampant in South America, doctors and nurses come with medicine.
The examples are endless because the dauntless spirit of Americans is endless.
Wherever there is a crisis, whenever there is a need, the lamp is lifted.
Higher examples: The American spirit is represented through our government as well.
It is more than coincidental that this nation, made up of a melting pot of all nations, provides support to all nations.
Two of our nation's most precious resources have been sacrificed while lifting the lamp of the American spirit.
Young American men and women have been sent to foreign lands to create a "golden door" for others. Many have lost their lives.
Their sacrifice shines bright for the citizens of the nations they saved.
Billions of American dollars have been spent lifting countries out of the debris of war, propping up failing currencies and providing peacekeeping support.
Yet, like the individual acts of generosity from our citizens, much of our government's support has never been repaid.
When crisis strikes our people, no foreign aid arrives.
When economic depression hits our nation, no "propping" occurs.
America stands alone -- and survives!
We are a country envied by many nations, equaled by none.
The "tired," "poor" and "yearning to be free" still flock to our shores.
Perhaps it is this indiscriminate lifting of our lamp that has created the golden door.
It is in our giving that we have received.
Truly, the generosity of our nation and our people has been rewarded.
Our cup runneth over with wealth and goodness.
Our forefathers did indeed create a "more perfect union." No doubt, we have issues to conquer and changes to make.
May we, as American citizens, rise every morning with our lamp in hand, thankful that by the grace of God we have been born "in the land of the free and the home of the brave."