The country is named the UNITED States of America. The Civil War ended in May 1865, and with the end of that war we had created a nation of independent states strongly united in a common purpose. That unity would be tested many times against many enemies, and the UNITED States would survive and be strengthened.
The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact happened because the wall of separation they built became a prison denying its citizens' freedoms. On the other side of their wall freedom flourished and it was guarded by the nations of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). The Soviets had built an unsustainable economy that could not support the military engine needed to defend itself and to satisfy its aggressive goal of expanding its political system to other nations.
Opposing the Soviet block and their goals the West, led by the U.S., met every aggressive challenge they made. Many successes such as in Berlin and in Latin America were costly to the Soviet Union, while the U.S. paid a heavy price in Vietnam. The Soviets paid a similar price in Afghanistan and their government lost much of its citizens' support over that loss. The U.S. also lost citizen support over Vietnam, but the core values of the U.S. remained strong. In Desert Storm we led a coalition that freed a nation invaded and occupied by Iraq. The most recent challenge to our values came in New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001. Once again the United States military stood up to defend our nation.
Meanwhile, the political climate in this country became more and more antagonistic and our Congress became ineffective in its duties. As our political leaders have lost the trust and support of our citizens, our military continues to fight and die in the Mideast. Those troops deserve leadership that respects and is equal to their service and sacrifice. Our politicians have placed their partisan interests above those of the nation, and their actions have taken the country away from being united. It is time for our political leaders to move past partisan politics and honor their oath to protect the constitution "against all enemies foreign and domestic".
Jack Dragoni attended Boston College and served in the U.S. Army in Berlin and Vietnam. He lives in Chaffee, Missouri.