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Happy 4th of July

The United States of America is looking good at 241 years of age.

Still youthful and vibrant, yet equally wise and challenged, the American experiment continues to work and thrive in a world of great uncertainty and overwhelming odds against it. There are moments of tremendous divisions that give the impression of weakness and disorder. Although, those that proclaim this notion are ignoring history and basic reality.

As the past 241 years have demonstrated, its the similarities and differences (small and large) between Americans have actually contributed to the strength and durability of the United States of America as the greatest country in the history of the world. We are free to debate, free to express our speech and free to change the course of an issue or, yes, even a nation or the world, through individual expression. Whether in the form of dissent or a rallying call, the opportunity for a better tomorrow is always present for the taking, if we so choose. Fierce debate and strong willed disagreements at the individual, local, state and national level don’t broadcast weakness or reason to sulk and panic, but instead presents the chance for someone (or a group) to see something differently and take action to bridge the seemingly unbridgable gap for a positive vision of unity.

The harder the task, the more impactful the reward.

On the 4th of July, we celebrate all the amazing characteristics that define the United States of America. These celebrations, universal and deeply personal, are special and warrant grand spectacles in the form of spectacular fireworks, wonderful parades, delicious bbq’s and entertaining movies with friends and family.

Above all, we remember that some of this nation’s most critically important historical moments have occurred in the face of intense adversity and daunting uncertainty that, once the smoke clears, continues to reveal a country that will sustain and thrive in ways we couldn’t have ever imagined.

This was one of those moments.

“…and the home of the brave?”

The concluding charge in “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key (there’s a family connection to Mr. Key) that, when answered, refreshes the promise of the American experiment for generations to come. And today is a perfect occasion for us to answer that call, in our own unique fashion, for the country we love.

Happy Independence Day. 

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Mr. Fallon’s Surprise Lesson Plan

A good teacher changes countless people’s lives for the better.

Fact.

Yesterday’s news was dominated by the surprise firing of FBI Director James Comey. However, May 9th was Teacher’s Day. Much like mother’s and father’s day, this occasion should be an everyday celebration. And to express his appreciation for educators, Jimmy Fallon did something special for the teachers who were in his Tonight Show audience last night.

Late Night Hosting Grade: A

Jimmy shows great interest in this subject and has a way of winning over his classmates audience members with his positive demeanor and entertaining sketches akin to hijinks of a class clown. He also has a comedic sidekick by the name of Steve Higgins.

3-6-Shine

2016 National Championship: Villanova defeated UNC 77-74.

2017 National Championship: UNC defeated Gonzaga 71-65.

What a difference a year makes. Literally.

The North Carolina Tar Heels battled the Gonzaga Bulldogs in a great close NCAA title game last night. The shooting for both teams did not inspire of a lot of NBA Jam-worthy moments and the officiating became the third squad on the court instead of the invisible hand that ensures the game remains under control. Still, the final couple minutes provided terrific drama and millions of viewers saw the Tar Heels play with a determination motivated by a feeling that they felt they had to win the championship this year.

That was the deciding factor concerning UNC’s late fuel of adrenaline and basketball prowess with the national championship on the line.

And UNC’s winning finish not only gave Roy Williams his third national championship with the Tar Heels and UNC its sixth national championship, but also one more shiny thing…

The ceiling is the roof for this UNC basketball program, as Michael Jordan might say (well, he actually did say those words about a month ago).

Either way, the ceiling (or the roof) in the Dean Dome will be adding another national championship banner.

Congrats to the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

The “luck of the Irish” has unusually special powers on St. Patrick’s Day.

And that luck usually comes in the form of a free pint of Guinness (or two if you’re really lucky).

On a more sober note, the story of St. Patrick is interesting, to say the least. Before all of us who have a lot of Irish in our blood or are just a wee bit Irish join in the celebrations of this day, perhaps we should first remind ourselves of the history and the man at the center of this joyous occasion.

I’m still looking for that four-leaf clover…