The winds of change were upon the air and the city was destined for something new. The old bricks that made the foundation of the city streets were now being covered by cement. The clacking of horse-drawn carriages was far and few as Henry Ford’s new automobiles zipped up and down the new concrete roads.

Bigger and taller skyscrapers were built daily and threatened to block out the sun. This was the new world that would give birth to rush hour traffic and endanger the old way of life. Communities grew while the sense of community shrank. The art of survival took on new dimensions as the American dollar became just as important. The world had changed and suddenly people were as interested in their “wants” as they were in their “needs.” This change laid the groundwork for a future of greed and desire and a lack of purpose that influences us to this day.

A nation with new opportunities could go down two roads: to ruin or to utopia. It is often said a country as young as the United States must face challenges the rest of the world had already conquered. But with the new world so different from the old—with change coming more rapidly than any other time in history—the United States during the first half of the 20th century faced unique challenges unlike anything that had been seen before.

As we sit here in the year 2019, it’s easy to dismiss the failings of our recent ancestors: racism, sexism, xenophobia, environmental disasters. But when we stop and look around once again at a new world—a world unlike any that has ever existed—are we all that different? Do we not face the same challenges? The same problems that had always plagued mankind?

Perhaps the times may change but we seldom do. What that means for the future of this great nation is hard to say. Though, one thing has always pushed us forward as a country. One thing has always defined our greatness as a young nation forever at odds with the old world. And that thing is what we must do now if we hope to continue our progression for a better life. We must unite as one people. We must face these mounting challenges together, just as we did during the great hardships of our young past. And more than ever, we mustn’t be afraid to call upon each other in our times of need. As brothers and sisters, as Americans, it’s our duty to ride the winds of change together so we may one day taste the sweet air of progress.

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