Two hundred and forty-five years ago the Founding Fathers of this great country gathered to declare independence from Great Britain. 

It is ironic, but most people, when they think of these true leaders and visionaries, envision elderly men gathered around a table.  The truth is that the average age of the Founding Fathers was only 44! 

These were not old men, but young men united against a common enemy and, perhaps more importantly, united by a common dream of creating an unprecedented republic which would guarantee to everyone what, today, we know as fundamental human rights or freedoms.

Sadly, as with all revolutions, ours also called upon men and women, young and old alike, to make the supreme sacrifice for the ideals in which they believed. But, as we have proven, their sacrifices were not in vain. And always, always, despite our differences when it comes to a common threat to our existence, be it enemies threatening our freedom or diseases our existence, we come together as a nation. We are united in more than name only.

Today the descendants of our Founding Fathers, and the scores of millions who have sacrificed to come to these shores, have built a country which stands alone at the pinnacle of the family of nations. Why? Because we are truly “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” No, we are not perfect. We are human beings and human beings can always improve. But what unites us makes us invincible; what divides us is transitory. In the end, we always come together. 

Americans, women and men, people of different religions, nationalities and creeds, in the end, always join together for the common good and to defeat a common enemy. We take pride in our scientific achievements. We are the ones who are exploring the galaxy.  We are the ones who turn science fiction into science fact.

And we are the ones who together, private industry, non-profits and government, worked in record time to defeat our most recent enemy, COVID-19. Our front-line workers, nurses, physicians, technicians, pharmacists, scientists, engineers, supermarket employees, delivery personnel, police, fire fighters and more, risked their lives to make certain we had the care we needed, the supplies we required, and the security which was essential for us to reach the end of what appeared to be a very long tunnel with only a hint of light at its end. Now that light has grown bright. We have safe vaccines which will enable us to return to the prosperity we knew a few short years ago.

We defeated the invisible enemy not because of our differences but despite them. We defeated the invisible enemy not because of what divides us but because of what unites us: our values. We were willing to sacrifice so that everyone would be safe.

That is the legacy of our Founding Fathers. We are not a people of “I,” “me,” and “you,” but of “us” and “US” stands for the United States. The United States is blessed with many things, not least of all its volunteer military. On this day of celebration, we cannot forget their sacrifices and the sacrifices of their families, without which we have neither freedoms nor liberties to cherish and celebrate. We owe them a debt which can never be repaid.

May this Fourth of July herald a new era of peace, prosperity, safety, security and, most importantly, good health for the residents of McAllen, all Texans, and all of our fellow Americans.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by Dr. Shahid Rashid, president of the South Texas Clinic for Pain Management. Rashid ran for mayor of McAllen in the recent city commission elections. The above column appears in The Rio Grande Guardian with the permission of the author. Rashid can be reached via [email protected]

Editor’s Note: The main photo accompanying the above guest column shows Dr. Shahid Rashid, MD, when he visited Rochelle, Illinois, to help with relief work following a tornado.


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