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GriefSPEAK: Happy belated Birthday, America! – Mari Nardolillo Dias

by Dr. Mari Nardolillo Dias, contributing writer

“…What’s that I smell in the air? The American Dream” (Miss Saigon)

Happy Birthday to America! (She, her, hers). America turned 247 years old this week amidst torrential rains. I can hear the belated fireworks now, several days later.  Many feel she has survived but is currently in the intensive care unit. She is unrecognizable for the younger folks – those in my age group remember other times she was hospitalized. My mom’s generation recalls when she was in hospice. During the depression. Throughout her life she has been generous, providing many with The American Dream, the Bill of Rights, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Free speech.  She has asked for very little in return. Education, forests, oceans, and 50 states that differ, but fall under her wings. The flag was a great pride to many. We all have a history, a story. Our stories, like hers, include mistakes. Yet we don’t forget our mistakes. And we shouldn’t destroy her story. We learn from them and move forward.

Many have not reciprocated in kind.  We now hear people stating that they hate America. Despite their success. They claim she is racist, white and operates on supremacy. She is unkind, unfair, and elitist. She is not a “superpower”, but just one of many nations in this global world. Several suggest we boycott the Fourth of July this year. No fireworks. No celebrations.

Yet, she is OUR America. Many are born and all are raised in this country. We have fought for her, died for her. There are many who are still proud of her. Despite all the vitriol over America’s Supreme Court decisions, the protests, the looting, the murders, the overdoses, inflation, gas and food prices, a possible recession: we, the dedicated citizens have the ability to perform CPR. Let’s not let America transition from the ICU to Palliative care. Let’s not let her die. It’s not her time. She can recover and continue to provide for us. The American Dream is battered and torn, but still breathes. Let us celebrate her birthday and our legacy with flags, fireworks and joy for a country that has given us so much. Do not let anyone take it away. She is a woman, and she is ours.


Dr. Mari Nardolillo Dias is a nationally board-certified counselor, holds a Fellow in Thanatology and is certified in both grief counseling and complicated grief. Dias is a Certified death doula, and has a Certificate in Psychological Autopsy.

She is Professor of Clinical Mental Health, Master of Science program, Johnson & Wales University. Dias is the director of GracePointe Grief Center, in North Kingstown, RI.  For more information, go to:

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