It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
This Fourth of July, people from coast to coast were supposed to fire up the grill, crack a cold beverage, and crank up the tunes in celebration of yet another Independence Day. Some of you—hell, many of you—will still do so in honor of America’s 244 trips around the sun. But you’ll be doing it in a socially distanced way from the comfort of a home likely subject to lockdown orders thanks to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Holiday concert? Canceled. Fireworks? Fuggeddaboutit. Summertime ballgame? Yer outta here!
That’s okay. On the 10th anniversary of our first-ever list of “100 great things about America,” the editorial staff at Fortune is once again here to help you remember the people, places, things, and ideas that make the United States worth celebrating (even if a few more of us could stand to wear face masks).
As with our prior lists, there are only a few rules. The first: We claim no ranking or exclusivity to this list, so spare us the kvetching when you weigh in at email@example.com. The second: Deceased folks are disbarred—simple as that. Finally, we suspended our usual “no repeats” rule since our annual observation of this Fortune tradition has been a bit spotty. (One too many cold ones, we’re afraid.)
Oh, and one more thing: This list was originally the brainchild of former Fortune top editor Andy Serwer, who as it so happens also decided this year to revive the lost tradition over at Yahoo Finance. Great minds, Andy. Here’s to America—and to you.
Who and what made this year’s list? Read on to find out.
Contributors: Megan Arnold, Kristen Bellstrom, Daniel Bentley, Maria Carmicino, Lee Clifford, Geoff Colvin, Scott DeCarlo, Mia Diehl, Josue Evilla, Nicole Goodkind, Robert Hackett, Armin Harris, Matt Heimer, Alison Klooster, Verne Kopytoff, Michal Lev-Ram, McKenna Moore, David Z. Morris, Sy Mukherjee, Andrew Nusca, Brian O’Keefe, Aaron Pressman, Rachel Schallom, Jonathan Vanian, Bernhard Warner, Jen Wieczner