Las Vegas Sun

August 29, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

America has opportunity for all

What does it mean to be an American? To me, it means being born into a country, as a person of mixed race, when times were very different; members of nonwhite races were not allowed the same chances to achieve their goals as the “ruling class;” non-whites who happened to live in the South were subject to the most terrible of life situations.

And yet, we had “governing documents,” written by the most brilliant minds of the time, which defined a country that guaranteed citizens the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The Constitution, a monumental document that has withstood the passing of time, is the envy of governments around the world; the Gettysburg Address, the Declaration of Independence, the judicial system — all attesting to the promise of liberty and justice for all.

My parents taught me all these things. My country (starting with the local Board of Education) recognized my small talents as a little girl of 5, and sent me to a school where I could learn at the level of which I was capable.

That’s what happens when one lives in the United States of America. I was able to continue my education and the realization of my dreams and ambitions. I can now look back on my life, my success in my three careers, not the least of which was working in the national defense systems.

These things, which I have lived, have created my view of what it means to be an American. I am proud of what I gave back my country, in return for what it gave to me, a person who did not fit the “mold” at that time in our history.

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  1. Being American means having an African-American President and Attorney General in a land whose Government up to 150 years ago allowed and condoned slave labor of black men, women and children.

    Carmine D

  2. Not to address the freeing and advancement of African-Americans in this country as the crowning achievement of American values would be to miss the signature event in the nation's history.

    All of the greatness represented by what America stands for can be summed up by the emancipation of the slaves,and the great social upheavals,including the Civil War,that the nation has demomonstrated the political will to both promote and endure in the name of equal rights. There are countless other examples also,but this one stands out above all the rest.

    In recognizing this great achievement we must also admit at one time in our history as having allowed to exist one of the greatest moral injustices in man's history--that of slave trade. America will never fully recover from the stigma of this horrendous act. Even today,our society bears the deep and enduring scars and turmoil that emerged from that time in our history.

  3. Ms. Kohns,

    Thank you very much for writing about your experiences, and moreover, telling the world of the greatness of our country and the most important document ever written by mortals, The Constitution of the United States.

    It was important at our Country's founding and it is ever more important today. Thank you.

    Warm regards,
    Purgatory

  4. Warrior - "ALL human races are political and tribal bigots from birth with ninety nine percent cowering from fright and self pity."

    Completely untrue, people are taught to be tribal and bigots.

    Thank you for the letter Ms. Kohns, well said.

  5. Opportunity is NOT DEFINED as free welfare, free K-12, free legal.... Further, LEGAL immigrants become AMERICANS. They do NOT insist that America become North Mexico.

  6. Opportunity rampant in Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela.

  7. BULLYING: name calling ("you're a bigot") and pointing fingers--wonder where our kids learn to bully?