The history of civilization is brief. A scientific analysis of artifacts from a cave in South Africa reveals that man were carved bone tools, using pigments, made beads and even used poison 44,000 years ago. And a study of the nearly 2,000 figures of the more than 17,000 year old paintings of the Lascaux Caves in southern France, reveals symbolic dot clusters within figurative images that correlate with the heavenly constellations of Taurus, the Pleiades and the grouping known as the "Summer Triangle". But, if we limit our search to historic times apart from prehistoric times when "records of the past begin to be kept for the benefit of future generations" then we need not look further than 5,000 years ago when city-states arose in the Middle East along the Tigris and Euphrates, in the Indus Valley, and in the river valleys of China.
I say civilization is brief, for, anatomically, modern humans first appeared in the fossil record in Africa about 195,000 years ago.
We have come a long way, slowly. And, it is all the more remarkable to know that America has only been around for less than 300 years.
America is unique in the annals of human history, for it stands for the proposition that "All men are created equal". This revolutionary idea certainly sounded good to the Founding Fathers, and to Thomas Jefferson, who included the phrase in the Declaration of American Independence.
American, and the ideal of equality, has been built generation by generation. We are a new breed, rooted in all races of the world, colored in all the colors of all the races, with all their varying creeds and beliefs - a sort of ethnic anarchy. I am reminded of this fact every time I take a taxi, driven by someone with an unfamiliar name, or visit a restaurant that offers up dishes from every continent, or walk down the main street America and see and hear someone who is unlike me. We are different, and from our differences we draw our strength. And yet, somehow in time, these differences become less and less, until we realize that we are more alike than we are different.
This fact, that, though different we are the same, comes to me every time I visit a school and watch the children of the many different races learning what it means to be American. It is the same process that countless American generations have gone thorough. And, so far, it has stood us in good stead.
All men, and women, are created equal. America is still working on this ideal.