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We have all sung “America the Beautiful,” a patriotic anthem that celebrates the diverse landscapes from “sea to shining sea” in our great country. This beloved song underscores what we know to be true about the United States – the diversity of our people and places are what makes our nation…

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It was New Year’s Eve 1996: My cousin Anthony and I were sitting at his mother’s dining room table playing a card game. Our mothers were in the kitchen, laughing, smoking cigarettes, and telling old stories about their childhood. Our mothers were several months apart in age, which in turn ma…