For more than 40 years I was fortunate to be able to work in international business. I traveled the globe, not as a simple tourist, but living, in some cases for years, in other countries, getting to really know the people, the cultures and the governments in those many places.
When you add to that the fact that I was raised in a family that also worked in foreign locations, it is quite reasonable to understand my global soul perspective of our world and how the United States fits into the greater global context.
I am always asked what my favorite places are and I always respond that they are all good but that it is great to come back home to America.
America is a great country and Americans are a great people.
While there are many places that I enjoy and respect, it is my home country that tops them all.
America's status did not happen just by chance.
My grandfather was in international business before me and he often spoke of how American companies helped build commerce across the globe back in the 1920s and even during the depression.
He and others in my family were very active in building our country following World War II, joining the millions of citizens that took the time and paid the price to make this the greatest industrial, cultural and economic power on the planet.
They have left us all with a legacy of growth, perseverance and determination seen in the buildings, parks, freeways and infrastructure that stretches across this great land. They built schools and increased education for everyone.
They supported and funded, not just our infrastructure, but our modern museums, auditoriums and libraries now recognized as some of the grandest in the world. That generation pulled out all the stops and never questioned the need to increase our high schools, our colleges and our research centers, or the things needed to support the future.
You can look at pictures from the early 1950s of every corner of the nation and compare those images to what is there today. The transformation across the country has been phenomenal. The generation that returned from World War II progressed this country and they did it in grand style; unashamed of being the best and showing it off to the rest.
The generation that followed them - the Baby Boomers as we are called - continued that effort of building, innovating and funding great advancements in America. We took the nation into space, moved computers into the hands of every citizen and also built the tallest buildings. At least we did up to a point.
Somehow the Baby Boomer energy has faded. We seem to have gotten caught up in a "what's in it for me" loop.
Whereas our forefathers saw the benefit of sacrifice to move the country toward a brighter future; and were willing to fund that push, today we seem to think smaller and mostly focus on our own wants.
In the coming weeks the citizens of this county will be asked to express their desires at the polls. That desire might be to continue to build our local American legacy for our families and our future generations; to continue on just as our forefathers did. Or, the desire might be to covet our pennies and stall the legacies that generations before us worked so hard to build and support. My journeys around the globe have clearly shown me the results of citizenry that retreats; rutted roads, no parks, buildings fallen into rubble. It has also inspired me when other countries have proved that the greater good, built with an eye toward their future produces exceptional quality of life for all.
Our generations before us have left a grand American legacy. What will you leave as your legacy in America, and in our county?
Charlie Auvermann is a longtime Dawson County resident and former editor of the Dawson Community News. He is also the executive director of the local development authority.