Editor's note: Thanks to the Ethiopian Community Development Council, the nonprofit organization responsible for administering the Afghan refugee resettlement program, we present a series of Voices contributions about the herculean efforts to bring 100 people from across the world to shelter and safety.
We had hoped to present these three contributions closer to World Refugee Day on June 20, but - well, sometimes the news has a way of thwarting a newspaper's actual advance planning.
Instead, we are deliberately presenting these pieces to you fresh on the heels of Independence Day.
Here in a state with an extremely blue political complexion, so much of what has happened in recent days and weeks has, for many, called into question exactly what it means to be an American. It's safe to say that no matter what one's political leanings, this year has forced on all of us new lenses through which we are seeing our country and where we fit in. For many, that view is destabilizing and upsetting.
There's far more to say about all of those issues another day. For now, we hope that in these words you will see - as we did - the best of what it can mean to live in and find refuge in the United States. We hope readers will discover that glimmer of hope - and even some patriotic pride - in these stories of sanctuary and support for good people who simply want a chance to engage in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
So as we interact with our new neighbors from Afghanistan, perhaps we can see and feel the ideals of a country that can and should be worlds better for those of us who live here - past, present, and future. May we, individually and collectively, be everything that they need us to be and reflect those ideals.
May we be Americans in every good sense of the word.