- Winged Victory of Samothrace
I don't really like the 4th of July - the stink and smoke and noise of fireworks is awful. Yeah, I'm glad to be an American ... have you seen what Europeans call toilet paper? ... but I'd rather celebrate in a non-environmentally toxic way (donuts! :) I've seen lots of Founding Father quotations posted online for today, but here's one a bit older that shows that we're not unique .....
It is true that we are called a democracy, for the administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few. But while there exists equal justice to all and alike in their private disputes, the claim of excellence is also recognized; and when a citizen is in any way distinguished, he is preferred to the public service, not as a matter of privilege, but as the reward of merit. Neither is poverty an obstacle, but a man may benefit his country whatever the obscurity of his condition. There is no exclusiveness in our public life, and in our private business we are not suspicious of one another, nor angry with our neighbor if he does what he likes; we do not put on sour looks at him which, though harmless, are not pleasant. While we are thus unconstrained in our private business, a spirit of reverence pervades our public acts; we are prevented from doing wrong by respect for the authorities and for the laws, having a particular regard to those which are ordained for the protection of the injured as well as those unwritten laws which bring upon the transgressor of them the reprobation of the general sentiment.