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Zepeda: Some appreciation for the red, white and you

For me, recalling my junior year is like trying to drive to school in the morning when it’s raining – everything appears blurry, and I seemed asleep for the better half of it.

I do, however, recollect one point from my U.S. history course. It is easier to remember the bad aspects of someone rather than the good ones. For example, most people dwell on Richard Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate scandal and not his help in establishing the EPA. (And how could someone ever forget that awesome proboscis?)

The United States has much the same problem as our big-nosed friend. America the Beautiful does have a blemish or two, but for all the acts of corruption, stealing, more corruption and lying, it shouldn’t bear the label of a crooked country.

If the stereotypes of America held true, fire-belching monster trucks would line up Randall Road; McDonald’s would fill up every street corner with golden arches; and, by law, every citizen would own a 10-gallon hat.

While looking like John Wayne may not seem all that bad, I believe Americans should throw all those labels out the window and have a little more pride and positive attitude. Disregarding all the negative portrayals, we do a good job.

Imagine America as a gigantic egg carton. Maybe it’s not the most nutritious or intelligent carton in the refrigerated section, but each individual slot holds one grade A, hardworking and patriotic yolk.

From time to time, a spoiled egg appears and stinks up the bunch, but it doesn’t mean the rest have gone bad.

All yolking aside, America is full of individuals who work long hours and sacrifice countless things in order to serve other people. News may come of the latest indignity or disaster, but I know the American spirit will persist and endure for years to come.

Given the option to live in any place in the world, I would always choose the U.S. Whether it’s the artery-clogging goodness of an American beef hot dog at a baseball game, or the amazing wealth of diversity in every city, the uniqueness and beauty of our country is unparalleled.

Thousands of miles away, many American soldiers continue to sacrifice in order to protect and allow our nation’s citizens to enjoy the rights given by our government. Many people in the struggling countries of the underdeveloped world would love to have just a few of the rights I hold simply because I am an American.

For that, I am forever proud and indebted. For that, I’ll toss those stereotypes. Thanks to all the industrious folks keeping this place running.

• Kurt Zepeda is a St. Charles resident and a senior at Marmion Academy in Aurora. He enjoys running, writing and the occasional confection. His column runs every other Thursday in the Kane County Chronicle. Contact him at

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