Happy Birthday, America!
In no particular order, this is our own rather subjective list of 101 reasons to love America.
You can feel free to add or subtract from this list or create your own list. America gives you the freedom to do that -- and a lot more:
1) Our constitution. The thread that holds us together and the bulwark of democracy.
2) Our federal system of 50 states, each distinctive, each free and independent but united as well.
3) The Liberty Bell. Forever flawed though nonetheless inspiring and eternal.
4) The Founding Fathers and what they wrought. They risked their lives, property, fortunes and sacred honor.
5) American summers, for summer is surely America's season.
6) Old glory, our flag -- proud, bright, brash and always flying high.
7) In God We Trust. Our ensuing faith in Him and His destiny for us.
8) Baseball. While football may be America's sport, baseball remains its pastime. There is a difference.
9) The 4th of July. Our birthday and our touchstone.
10) Free elections. The right to choose the leaders that we want.
11) Jazz. America's unique musical art form.
12) Those who served. Our veterans, protectors of our freedom.
13) The American Red Cross. There when we need them.
14) Our free enterprise system. A model for the entire world.
15) Country music. The hip-slapping spirit of America.
16) Hollywood. Tinseltown and its gift to the world -- movies.
17) The Statue of Liberty. May her torch always be held high.
18) Walt Disney. The gift of imagination and wholesome entertainment from an American genius.
19) Our military --every branch and everyone who serves.
20) The Grand Canyon. In a word, breathtaking.
21) The great American novel. From the great white whale to The Great Gatsby, keep spinnin those tales!
22) Freedom to worship, Our many houses of faith all across the land.
23) The Interstate Highway System. Thank you, President Eisenhower.
24) Our first responders, brave and steadfast.
25) Small towns. Where America's heart beats true.
26) Television. For better or worse, it reflects us and epitomizes the popular culture.
27) Our farmers. Keeping the agrarian spirit alive and the horn of plenty full.
28) Broadway. The Great White Way, and all that it represents and all the hustle and bustle that surround it.
29) American cars (and our love affair with the car). Even after tough times US auto industry can never be counted out.
30) Coca-Cola. The drink that IS America.
31) Las Vegas. Vegas, baby, Vegas!
32) Thanksgiving. A uniquely American holiday and the kickoff of our buying season.
33) The Rocky Mountains. America's sturdy backbone.
34) Neighbors and neighborhoods. Our real time, real people link in a high-tech age.
35) Our national park system. Even with those pesky rangers, it's a joy.
36) Our two-party system. It’s seen better times but it still works.
37) Apple pie. Yummy, yummy!
38) Gospel music. Expressing faith, love, joy and anguish.
39) The Gateway Arch. A soaring, inspiring welcome to America's frontier.
40) Cowboys. The soul of our wanderlust.
41) Elvis Presley. The King is on the premises.
42) McDonald's -- every one of them and every diner and roadside eatery in between.
43) Flowering gardens. Roses and marigolds and azaleas and magnolias and all those other beautiful flowers and all the people who help make them bloom.
44) Our volunteer spirit -- from Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys right up to the present day.
45) Those who gave their all. All those who died protecting our freedoms, many buried on foreign soil. And all POWs and MIAs. We shall never forget.
46) A free press. We love them. We hate them. We curse them. We praise them. But where would we be without them?
47) The blues. Sad, sultry, soulful.
48) Andy Warhol. He made the ordinary extraordinary.
49) Starbucks. Keeping us alert and ready.
50) Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey. Still the greatest show on earth!
51) Big Sur and the entire California coast, from top to bottom.
52) Free public libraries. Learn, baby, learn!
53) Our system of higher education -- especially our great public universities.
54) The legacy of Norman Rockwell. The man who showed us the best in ourselves.
55) Texas. Big. Bold. Proud. American.
56) Ferris wheels. From the 1893 Chicago World's Fair till now, still enchanting.
57) The Kentucky Derby. The legendary run for the roses.
58) Mount Rushmore. Our history wrought mammoth.
59) The Smithsonian. Endlessly fascinating and free.
60) NASA. To the moon and beyond.
61) The Super Bowl. A bowl full of partying in an otherwise dull month.
62) The South. Lush land of tall tales, spirited music, colorful characters and firey history.
63) Hot dogs. Plump, juicy and smothered with your choice of dressings, garnishes, condiments, whatever . .
64) Home sweet home. The house you live it; your land, your property, your domicile.
65) The Great Lakes. Can you name all five of them?
66) Grandma Moses. The modern-day mother of primitive American art.
67) Marilyn Monroe. Defying convention, she made America sexy once and for all.
68) The Mississippi. Mighty from top to bottom and everywhere in between.
69) The Indy 500. Vrrroooomm, vrrrrroooomm!
70) The great wits. From Mark Twain to Will Rogers to Dorothy Parker to Art Buchwald to Erma Bombeck to P. J. O'Rourke.
71) The heartland. From Ohio to Iowa, where ordinary, everyday America thrives.
72) Blue jeans. On the farm, in the city and everywhere else.
73) "God Bless America." The people's anthem that Irving Berlin wrote just for us.
74) Independence Hall. Where it all began.
75) The Lincoln Memorial and the man it celebrates. The ultimate monument to the single most compelling figure in American history.
76) Rock 'n roll (aka rock). Rhythm 'n blues, jazz, honkey talk, soul, gospel -- all rolled into one.
77) The West. Where our restless spirit was born.
78) Sneakers. From PF Flyers, Keds and Chuck Taylor Converse to a $13 billion a year industry, we love 'em.
79) The Drudge Report. Because we need to know.
80) Barbecue. Beef or pork, wet or dry, hot or sweet, it's America.
81) The Washington Monument. The highest point in the capital and a fitting tribute to the father of our country.
82) Alaska and Hawaii. Our exotic and adventurous extremes.
83) Uncle Sam. When he calls, be sure to answer.
84) The Stars and Stripes Forever, and all of those great Sousa marches and their Sousa bands.
85) Native Americans. This land is their land.
86) Chicago architecture. Art that we live in, work in, play in; a living lesson in soaring beauty; a skyline to emulate.
87) Walt Whitman. "I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear . . . "
89) Motown. The irrepressible sound of a lively, searching soul.
90) New Orleans. A sassy, saucy, scintillating survivor.
91) Rugged individualists, gadflies, iconoclasts, muckrakers and all those who afflict the powerful. Charge onward!
92) Harly Davidson. Still the king of the road.
93) Geeks. Zuckerberg, Jobs, Wozniak, Gates and the whole damned Silicon Valley.
94) Comics and comic books. From zany dimwits and lovable losers to iconic super heroes.
95) Truckers and truck stops. Keep on Rollin!
96) New England. Lobster, chowder, rugged seacoasts and cherished traditions.
97) Scientific pioneers. The searchers, the discoverers, the trailblazers and all those who make the breakthroughs that enrich and lengthen our lives.
98) American fashion. From Ralph and Tommy and Donna and Vera. From Seventh Avenue to the world.
99) New Jersey. The distinctive state that gave us Sinatra and The Boss and taught us all how to be wise guys.
100) Willie Nelson. Is there anyone he hasn't sung with or any genre of music he hasn't yet recorded?
101) The American Dream. A better life for our children and our children's children. Always, our best days lie ahead