As it is Independence Day here in America, I have come to reflect on what it means to celebrate this holiday. I was brought up by parents who had traveled and seen the world. They lived in different countries such as Honduras and Germany and traveled to African countries and all over Europe. There are very few places my mother didn’t venture to and my Dad moved around a lot while serving in the army as well. They taught me so much about different cultures and the wonderful things that we have in this country I must try not to take for granted. (Except my Dad said German beer still is the best..but he’s Mormon now so sorry sucker!)
I grew up in a town where the culture and ideals of many of my peers and friends were far from what was taught in my home. I grew up disagreeing with most of my teacher’s political views and opinions. But I grew up loving my friends and anyone different form me and respecting their right to think differently from me.
I was taught about the blessings I had from living in such a wonderful country. I spent my mornings with my hand over my heart pledging allegiance to The Flag of the United States of America. I missed that daily routine when I moved on to high school. I loved singing the National Anthem before every sports’ match and especially looking around to see all the proud Americans beside me.
When I was in 7th grade 9/11 changed the feeling and the attitude around me. Everyone was patriotic. It was hard to see a car that didn’t have a flag or God Bless America bumper sticker attached to it. I remember soaking in that time. I remember loving the feeling of a country so united and supportive of one another. The feeling was something I will always treasure.
I learned about those who had gone before me. Those who had died to maintain the freedoms and the lifestyle of America. I was taught about the awesome rebellion of my Founder Fathers who fought for this country with everything on the line, even their lives. I was taught about those who still risk their lives for me today and to always show my gratitude for them, and whenever I meet one to say, “Thank you for serving our country.”
I was touched and in awe as I visited Washington DC and witnessed the miracle that America truly is and how much we have accomplished.
I was taught in church even, the blessings of this country and to always be grateful and to serve my country in any way possible.
I was also taught the struggle that our country went through with slavery, with women’s rights and other changes to find the balance that we still struggle with today in some aspects. I was grateful for those who fought for what they thought was right, and brought me to a life where I was taught to love anyone regardless of who they are.
Although we have been through a lot in this country, and have a lot of work to do, it’s nice to take a day and to reflect on what we do have. On what liberties and freedoms and lifestyles we can live in this beautiful, unique and inspiring country. So many wonderful strong and influential people have helped this country survive and I am grateful for you.
It is a day of remembrance and humility for all we have and how much work it has taken. No country is perfect, no government is perfect, and no human being is perfect. But we are grateful for what is good and wonderful about America.
I love my country, I am grateful for it and for all my fellow Americans. Thank you for making this country my home and for allowing us all to be Proud to be an American.