We Are All Americans
I hope everyone was able to work in at least a little time for celebrating our nation’s birthday last Wednesday. The freedom that comes with being a citizen of the world’s greatest democracy is something we should always cherish and never take for granted.
For many people, July 4 is about fireworks, cookouts, time with family, and maybe even a trip to the pool, the ballpark or the beach.
The Fourth is also about responsibility: To vote, to participate in civic activities and debate, and to know and abide by our laws. It’s election season, so I hope you will express your support for the candidates of your choice and vote in our upcoming state and national elections this fall.
Another responsibility we have is for military service. UMMC has many retired and active duty members of the military among its faculty, staff and students. A relatively large contingent of our workforce is either currently deployed or on active reserve, spending several weeks each year in training of one sort or another. I salute these men and women for their bravery, commitment and service to our country.
I’ve always been proud of the fact that our Medical Center is regularly recognized by the various branches of the armed forces for making time available for our employees to be involved in military service.
And let’s not forget our close relationship with our neighbor, the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery V.A. Medical Center. We share many faculty with the VA and have a close working relationship that has been mutually beneficial through many decades and is only growing stronger.
Of course, many members of our campus are foreign nationals, and my focus on American Independence Day is not meant to exclude you. You are welcome here, you are making major contributions, and your presence enriches our community.
But if I have one Independence Day wish this year it is that we could be more united around our common identity as American citizens. Many of us identify with certain groups, whether they be racial, ethnic, religious, political, geographic, or even the sports teams we root for. These labels are fine and in many cases have great significance, but they can tend to emphasize what divides us.
The one label that unites us all is the “American” label. Unfortunately, it seems like the only time we really take this to heart is when we have a major national disaster or an attack by enemies that have some profound grievance with our country.
So as we head into this new academic and fiscal year, with many new faces on board, let’s remember that we are all Americans, and that we are all working for one goal of A Healthier Mississippi.