I recently returned from a short vacation to Spain, and in my first 10 minutes back on US soil, I encountered the feature that more than anything else defines the essence of the United States of America.  Today’s national holiday seems a fitting occasion to recount that experience.

An Asian American pilot landed our plane.  A white American female gate clerk wearing an LGBT pride lapel pin helped me with luggage.  A Muslim American customs agent checked my passport.  An Indian American custodian directed me to the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts, where an African American employee and a Mexican American cashier prepared and rang up my coffee, respectively.

The USA has many problems, including an ongoing lack of tolerance in some sectors of society.  Yet, nothing makes me prouder to be American than the diversity of my fellow Americans.  Diversity is our country’s historical foundation, our most valuable economic asset, and our greatest strength going forward.  E pluribus unum.

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