"The Americans are certainly people for whom I've had ambivalent feelings since childhood. As a Second World War baby, I initially grew up resenting them for waiting until their Pearl Harbour was bombed before they joined the Allied Forces. As a growing child in the austerity of post-war 1950's, I wanted the good quality of life that all Americans 'seemed' to have, especially those new kitchen gadgets called fridges that made children ice pops. As a teenager, all my learning about the British monarchy throughout the centuries was dumped in favour of the one and only 'King'; Elvis Presley. As a history student, I learned to admire the Americans for having refused to cow-tow to the British in 1773, and instead of joining their tea party, the tax rebels from Botony Bay decided to have one of their own. Then following the happy hippy period of the 1960's where bombs were banned, love was free and everything else the mind and body could conjure up was allowed, America quickly went downhill. In came the culture of drugs, racketeering and pornography, along with a rapid increase in crimes of violence, sex trafficking, and the amount of food upon a plate that was required to fill a Philadelphian face and grossly enlarge an American butt. As an ageing adult, I have begun to question more its gun laws which it hangs on to as the last bastion of independence; just in case the British ever invade again. Well, let me tell you Yankees, they'll be no more hungry 'Wolfes' from this side of the Atlantic knocking on your door again. Most of us tea drinkers have gone teetotal now and drink nothing else but American coffee!
But whatever negative thoughts I have ever held about the Americans, they have always done enough to redeem themselves in my eyes. What I do love about the Americans, and where we British have much to learn from them, is their capacity to pick themselves up after any kind of national tragedy and to get on with their lives in the best way they know how. Burn their flag and you will get shot down in flames. Stand on any American street and preach hatred against their country and you'll not be the beneficiary of any state benefits other than being given a few years hard labour. They won't provide legal aid to the hate mongers. There may not even provide a trial!
Whenever faced with a problem such as the recent horrendous hurricane disaster, their 'can do' attitude and positivism is nothing less than inspiring. I wasn't surprised with their response when a huge tree was uprooted in Sequoia National Park, California. No picnics were cancelled, no traffic was re-routed: they didn't even bother trying to go around the problem; they just went through it! Long live America and Mamma's apple pie!" William Forde: May 29th, 2013.