Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Label Me an American

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Label Me an American

Article excerpt

Between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, thoughts arise about our country. It's a time period in which we celebrate and honor those who gave everything for our freedom and those who made the original commitment to establish a "free" country.

Recently, I spoke to a group of young bankers in Washington, D.C. For many, it was their first trip to our nation's capital. Earlier in the day, they had visited Arlington National Cemetery; the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials; the Korean, Vietnam, and Second World War Memorials; and the Capitol. They were excited about their day.

I suggested to the group that we often get tied up in the "politics" of Washington and forget the historical significance of what Washington and the United States mean to each one of us and to the world. Washington is the symbol of freedom for the entire world.

We all carry our own labels: Republicans and Democrats; old and young; men and women. Labels tend to put us in categories that emphasize our differences rather than embrace our commonality. With all our differences, we do share a common label: American.

We have such a wonderful country. Two hundred thirty-seven years ago, 56 brave Americans signed the Declaration of Independence. Freedom was the issue. Most of us can't quote one line from this world-changing document, but I hope we never forget the final line: "We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor."

The signers were well-educated men of means--24 were lawyers, nine were farmers and owners of large plantations. …

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