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This is why I always pick up a penny


Last updated 8/21/2008 at Noon

I still stoop over to pick up a penny, even though I am 70 years old – or maybe I stoop because I am old enough to remember the penny’s worth. I remember the day of the “copper penny,” when a penny was worth today’s quarter in purchasing power, and perhaps worth even more for its copper content, as shown by the recent theft of precious Fallbrook bronze sculptures. It breaks the heart.

But my real reason for picking up a penny is nostalgic. I love my country and I like to be reminded of the hope found in our old National Motto, “e pluribus Unum,” adopted in 1782.

Yes, this motto reminds us that “out of many came one” nation. All of us together created America from our great diversity: the poor and the wretched; the day laborer and the professional; the investor and the wealthy heiress; the Muslim, the Jew and the skeptic; the white, the half-white and the black; the Italian immigrant who speaks music but little English and the Irish poet who opens the windows to America’s soul.

This motto is the founding hope of our nation. May this belief never perish from our hearts. The power of the principle that all people are created equal is what makes us a great nation.

Next time, pick up that penny and look for this Latin phrase. It is still there and so is the hope.

Joe Howard Crews


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