American roots

Published 9:51 pm Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Today is July 4, Independence Day, the one day on the calendar where we collectively celebrate what it means to live in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” We take great pride in our forefathers who unanimously declared their independence from Great Britain 236 years ago and formed a more perfect union of states.
To get a real sense of what it means to be an American, one need only visit our nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C., for an immersion in our history and heritage.
Our national documents — the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights — are on display at the National Archives. Though faded through the years, they remain a testament to our foundation as a democratic and constitutional republic.
You can look into the eyes of our presidents at the National Portrait Gallery. From George Washington to George W. Bush, you capture a sense of the challenges they faced while leading our country.
Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol is lined with two statues from each of the 50 states, including Charles Brantley Aycock and Zebulon Baird Vance, both of North Carolina. The experience is well worth the wait in line and the security check.
The best part of a trip to the nation’s capitol is the price. There is no charge to enter any of these sites but the experience is priceless.
Enjoy your Independence Day celebration today, but consider adding a capitol trip to your bucket list. It will give you a greater appreciation of what it means to be a patriot.