The American spirit can be difficult to define.
That's because Americans are so different. We're patriotic. We're generous. We're creative. We're entrepreneurial.
We're hard workers who have built a young nation that is the envy of the rest of the world. Many nations either want to be us or destroy us out of jealousy.
We're a diverse nation, home to people of all colors, ethnicities, nationalities, creeds and beliefs. We have welcomed those who faced oppression in their own nations.
With this in mind, the Southeast Missourian has established the Spirit of America Award. Clubs and organizations may nominate an individual who most captures the American spirit. The club who nominates the winner will receive $1,000, and the winner will be recognized in downtown Cape Girardeau during the July 4 festivities. Look for the nomination form in today's newspaper or online at www.semissourian.com.
Nominations may come from Cape Girardeau, Perry, Bollinger, Scott and Stoddard counties in Missouri and Pulaski, Alexander and Union counties in Illinois.
In addition, the Southeast Missourian is inviting readers to submit 250-word essays on why they love America. The essays will be published in our July 1 Spirit of America edition.
Send your essays, along with your contact information, to: Spirit of America essays, Heidi Hall, P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701-0699.
There are lots of wonderful people and writers out there. There should be plenty of submissions for both the award and the essay contest.