What makes a nation great

THE GREATEST MEASURE: It’s the regular folk who are the soul of the country, the heartbeat and lifeblood of the nation.

WHAT makes a nation great? A fantastic head of government or state? Intelligent cabinet members? A brilliant opposition?

Does a great nation mean that its armed forces are large and well-equipped? That its men and women in blue, green and white go all over the world to protect the weak and innocent, fighting against tyranny and despotism?

Does a great nation mean one which is rich in reserves and minerals, its people living comfortably, with unemployment virtually non-existent and poverty eradicated?

Where crime does not exist or is at such a low rate that it can be ignored, because its police force is efficient and incorruptible?

These are the ideals that everyone hopes for. But these ideals are not as important as the people who make up the citizenry of any given nation. Not the leaders, nor the members of its security forces or government. The everyday Joe. The ordinary member of society living his or her ordinary life.

The normal person who, through his or her actions, proves the greatness of a nation. It can be something small, like not being a litterbug or cleaning up after using a public toilet. Or helping a blind person cross the street. Or it could be big, like laying down your life to save someone.

Making the ultimate sacrifice to ensure someone else is safe — whether someone you know and love or someone you may never have met — is one of the greatest measures of a great nation. A nation which produces such citizens must surely be a prosperous one, figuratively at least.

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