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July 3, 2013

KITCHELL: Fourth about more than fireworks

One summer several years ago, the phone rang and the conversation that transpired is one I’ll never forget.

At the other end was Betty Spivak, a woman who had known my father for over a half century. She was phoning to talk to an old friend about a proud moment. Her grandson was about to win an Olympic gold medal in men’s swimming.

For a woman who once lived in Burrows in neighboring Carroll County, it was a life moment. It was an American moment.

As my father watched the telecast in Indiana and she watched in New Jersey, only “The Star-Spangled Banner” could be heard echoing over the phone as the men’s team stood for the medal ceremony. My father and Betty could have spoken words during that time, but it was a moment to be savored and they weren’t about to spoil it.

There are moments like those that define why we feel we do about our country, and as we approach a long Fourth of July weekend, there are plenty of moments we all experience that define what being an American is.

With no apologies to comedian Jeff Foxworthy and his signature line, think of all the reasons why you might be an American if ……

You might be an American if you see a member of the National Guard kissing a spouse or a loved one and wonder how long it will be when, or if, they will see each other again.

You might be an American if all you really want is to raise 2.2 children, have a significant other and own a home.

You might be an American if you root out loud for Miss USA in the Miss Universe Pageant, even if no one at the pageant can hear you or cares.

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