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Counselor's Corner: Because this is America, that’s why!

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By John Lapp

Voting is a privilege, as well as a right. But not every country has the same rights that we do. While they may boast that the percentage of citizens who voted in a recent election was higher than ours, it’s possible that those citizens are told who to vote for, while we vote for the candidate we choose. Because this is America, that’s why.
In the latest edition of the Taylorsville phone directory, there are eight headings of different church denominations/affiliations listed, and 14 names of the individual churches. Yet in many countries there is no freedom of worship and if there are any churches, they are sanctioned and governed by the watchful eye of the national leaders, while we can go to the church of our choice. Because this is America, that’s why.
How many countries are you aware of that have immigrants wanting to live in those countries? Yet, we have always been a country where families have given up their own homelands of birth and would do anything, even possibly be willing to sacrifice their lives, to come here, no matter the cost. Because this is America, that’s why.
There are very few countries who can honestly boast as we can of having the finest, fiercest, well-trained, currently all-volunteer military of an Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, National Guard, Coast Guard, and active and inactive reserve force, who are also feared by most countries. Because this is America, that’s why.
Our colleges and universities, including the medical colleges like Johns Hopkins, Harvard and Yale, to name a few, have a major population of foreign born students clamoring for the opportunity to enter one of these institutions. No other country can even come close to ours. Because this is America, that’s why.
Which country can match the heritage we have in our nation’s history, produced by our founding fathers who wrote what has been considered a masterpiece: The United States Constitution, which has, andhopefully, prayerfully will continue to guide us in the near and distant future?
Because this is America, that’s why.
And, as I was preparing to write this tribute to the land that I love and whom I willingly and proudly served as a member of the United States Marine Corps from 1957-63, I was asked by a couple of people if I would be willing to compose a poem, (one of my favorite hobbies) as a tribute to “my home, sweet, home.” So, I hope you enjoy:
 

- Because this is America, that’s why -

As ‘the land of the free and home of the brave,’
Whose blood and lives many freely gave
To keep us safe, and to keep us free,
To worship, work, as we choose to be,
We’re grateful again for their selfless sacrifice,
And the untold costs, and the enormous price,
Young men and woman who left family and friend,
Not knowing if they’d be together again,
To go to places and perform each given task,
While seldom giving thought to question or ask,
‘Why did I leave those that I hold so dear?
To fight for my country in strife and with fear
Not knowing if soon, or even, if when
We’ll all be together, expressing again,
With laughter and tears what we really feel
While praying to God that some memories might heal.’
But they went and, yes, did us all a great deed,
To protect us in ways that all of us need,
To maintain what we’ve had right from the start,
That our country maintains that it comes from the heart
That “freedom’s not free”, and it comes at a price
And many have paid it with great sacrifice,
To keep us secure, so with pride we can cry...
Because this is America, that’s why.