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On the Subject of "The Greatest American"

By Remy Benoit

This comes from a reader:

I can understand your viewpoint concerning AOL's poll searching for the greatest American.  If I had to choose the greatest American,  George Washington would get honorable mention.  His vision illuminated the path to freedom for countless generations to come after him.  I think, however, there is a group of people so overlooked that I would have to vote them as the greatest Americans:  the Native American Indian.  Before the "white man" ever set foot on this soil, the Native Americans were caring for the land and the wildlife that provided their food, shelter, and clothing.  They raised families, built communities, and worshipped their God.  Their deep spirituality extended to the animals and all of nature.  God's creation was revered and treated with respect.  They valiantly defended what was theirs until, finally, they accepted the isolation of a reservation.  When the white man came to America, he found the water, air and earth in pristine condition.  A blank canvas just waiting to be transformed into a New World!  Those early explorers saw an opportunity to carve out a new life where they were free to worship and live as they saw fit.  No repression from a king.  It was a very noble ideal.  However, now we see the results of what the "white man" has done over the years.  The repression we escaped has been transferred to the Native American Indian.  We have polluted the once clean water, air and earth.  We are killing animals to the point of extinction.  We are using our farm land and forests to build more and more housing projects, shopping centers, and interstate highways.  We seem to have forgotten that all of God's creation should be revered and respected.  I believe we owe a great debt of gratitude to the Native American Indian.        


Would like to hear from more of you!


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This item is part of historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.

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