Robert Petersdorf, M.D., F.A.C.P.
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Birthdays are useful fictions. They are not days when anything of moment is likely to happen. What counts is past or is to come. The celebration serves mainly to confirm our sense of worth, and we are humanly prone to accept even what we may not have earned.
The useful fiction of this year is based on the premise that our nation was born in 1776.
For some of us national life began when an ancient tribe ended its trek from the Bering bridge at the plains of Wyoming. Or when the Mayflower dropped anchor. Or when a slave ship
Petersdorf R. United States of America 1976. Ann Intern Med. ;84:91–92. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-84-1-91
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1976;84(1):91-92.
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