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The truth about America can be found in Manteca

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POSTED July 1, 2011 1:29 p.m.

Sometime between the first flag unfurling at dawn's early light on Main Street and the last flickering ember floating back down to earth in the darkened skies over Manteca's Big League Dreams sports complex you may discover the truth about America.

It's not hard to find.

You'll see it in the fresh, eager and wholesome faces of a small army of youth as they place part of the 2,400 flags along Manteca streets.

You'll hear it in the neighborly banter of die-hard volunteers at the Manteca Kiwanis breakfast as they chat with hundreds of people as they help serve up pancakes, eggs, ham, OJ, coffee, and milk. They're the same folks who help make the Pumpkin Fair a success, hide thousands of eggs during the free community Easter egg hunt, and gave thousands of dollars to help non-profits that serve youth and those in need.

You'll see it in the proud stance of veterans who will accompany Old Glory as the parade makes it way down North Main Street a bit after 10 a.m. It's a stance of one who has served America to protect the lives, liberties, and dreams of millions they've never met and even more who have yet to be born.

You'll see it in the precision fire brigade drills of firefighters whose hearts - the same ones that beat in double time when a call for help comes in - are as big as their smiles as they drench squealing kids seeking relief from the day's heat with water.

America, when all is said and done, can be found not in politicians, celebrities or the super rich. Its heart, soul and backbone are in the construction worker. The secretary. The clerk. The farmer. The truck driver. The school teacher. The soldier. The nurse. The day laborer. The engineer. The farm worker.

It is in families. It is in schools. It is in churches. It is in businesses.

Thomas Jefferson may have inspired legions but it took countless others whose hearts beat fast for the same love of liberty and freedom to turn words into deeds.

George Washington may have led through doom and gloom to triumph but it took the faithful commitment of men willing to leave the comfort of their homes and risk it all for the untried idea that common men could rise up against kings and determine their own collective destiny.

Joseph Strauss may have had the vision and the engineering skills to design the Golden Gate Bridge but it took the muscle, sweat, backbone - and even the lives - of laborers to actually create the modern wonder.

John D. Rockefeller may have set the bar for capitalism but it is the countless small business owners who really make the free-market system work.

Martin Luther King Jr. may have delivered the stirring and inspiring words that remind us equality in terms of human rights must be universal or it exists for none but it is the day-to-day actions of neighbors, co-workers, and strangers that determine whether we are indeed different than mere animals.

America is not perfect. But there are 307 million reasons as we celebrate the 235th anniversary of what still ranks as the most radical moments in the annals of mankind - the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Its lofty concept of putting all men on the same footings as kings that this nation still offers the best hope for oppression and tyranny to fade from the earth.

The truth about America is simple. It works because government for the people and by the people requires people to step up and do their share to make America work.

If not, the freedoms and liberties we enjoy may end up as just as a series of bursts on the timeline of man and fade into oblivion just as the final embers of fireworks fade on Monday night.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail


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