With the extinguishing of the torch, the Beijing Olympic Games have come to a close. For the past two weeks, Americans have had the opportunity to cheer on our athletes as they have striven to achieve excellences in all fields of athletic endeavors. I for one have found myself many nights yelling and cheering with nearly uncontrollable excitement as Americans such as Phelps and his teammates came from behind to secure gold or when Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson each flipped and balanced their way to gold.

Despite all the politicians and commentators who diminish America’s importance in the world and shun open affection and national patriotism, Americans I believe still have faith in their country and its positive influence on the world. It was in these moments of athletic success that Americans felt free to cheer on America and to be openly proud of their country. Ronald Reagan in his inaugural address stated, “It is time for us to realize that we’re too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams.” These athletes simply gave Americans the opportunity to openly celebrate the pride and love for their country that they carry in their hearts every day. Go USA.

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