It occurred to me today - as I listened to the one embarrassingly over-politicized moment in an otherwise moving and respectful Veterans Day ceremony here in my community - that the thing that makes America possibly the greatest nation on earth is not the things we have already accomplished. 

And it is certainly NOT the status quo. If the past few years have taught me anything, it is that Peter Tork of the Monkees hit the nail on the head when he questioned the validity of the old saying "my country, right or wrong.” 

“My country wrong needs my help,” Peter said, and truer words were never spoken.

No, what makes America great is the fact that we do still have the potential to do so much more. 

To become even better than we might like to think of ourselves as already being. 

To continue striving to become the kind of nation that our founders - faulty human beings as they were - dared imagine that we might one day become. 

Don Quixote, in the musical "Man of La Mancha," called it "The Impossible Dream." And perhaps he was right.

But as another childhood hero of mine - Bruce Wayne, as portrayed by the late Adam West - once observed: “Of what use is a dream if not a blueprint for courageous action?” 

The American Ideal - and the freedoms we claim to treasure, even though we all too often try to deny them to others who are every bit as worthy of those freedoms as we are - are such a blueprint. It is the ideal which I swore to honor and defend when I was sworn into the Air Force. It is the ideal to which I pledge my allegiance.

That's it. End of rant. Nothing left to do now, I suppose, but climb off my soapbox and wait for the inevitable backlash...