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The American backbone is crumbling.

Why should you care? That backbone is you.

Nucor Steel’s Town Hall Meeting brought that much needed message to the area loud and clear Tuesday night.

The steelmaking company, which has a facility based in Hertford County, hosted nearly 1,000 Roanoke-Chowan citizens at Chowan University’s Helms Center to inform and incite a vital grassroots effort: stop the bleeding of American manufacturing jobs overseas.

Manufacturing workers built this country and they continue to do so despite their dwindling numbers. Good, hardworking, American people are losing their jobs because of a failed and corrupt international trading system.

Over the past decade, the United States has lost 4.2 million manufacturing jobs overseas. North Carolina alone has seen its share with the loss of 280,000 jobs in that same time period.

While the statistics are overwhelming, there is hope. We can stop the bleeding, but only if we educate ourselves on the topic at hand and come together. This, of all issues, is one we can unite on despite our race, religion or political beliefs.

As Nucor officials suggested, one of the first steps we can take in securing our jobs is informing ourselves on the issue, and the next is contacting our representatives. After all they work for us.

Nucor officials should be commended for bringing this dialogue to the area and opening their doors to everyone.