Ask practically any American this week about their country, and they will likely tell you that - despite its faults - the United States is the greatest nation on earth.
I would even take it a step further by saying the United States is the greatest country there is, ever was, and ever will be...
But then again, I'm a bit of a homer.
Maybe it was all those World War II movies I watched with my great uncle when I was kid. He was an old sailor who was big on Admiral "Bull" Halsey, and by extension, so was I.
Or maybe it's because I'm much older now, and I realize just how dark the world would be without her. That much I am sure of.
But what I love most about my country is that it was founded on the idea that all men are created equal and are born with unalienable rights - among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Of course, Thomas Jefferson put those words much better than I ever could some 236 years ago when he penned the Declaration of Independence.
What you may not know is that Jefferson was just 33 years old when he sat down to the task of writing one of the most important documents of all time.
Chosen by John Adams for his "happy talent for composition and singular felicity of expression," it took Jefferson 17 days to complete under the apparent constant harassment of horseflies from a nearby barn. Being mid-June in Philadelphia, it was also undoubtedly quite warm.
I often wonder what that must have been like, using only an ink well, pen, and candlelight at night. Did Jefferson know his elegant phrasing and high tone would go on to forever change the world?
What was it like, that moment when he scratched out the word subjects and replaced it with the word citizens?
Was it a slip from a lifetime of habit... or Jefferson's first recognition that the people of his cause were no longer subjects of any nation- but citizens of an emerging democracy?