Happy Fourth of July! Thoughts on Something I Tend to Take for Granted.

Happy Fourth of July! I’m not a flag waver – that is, I tend not to wear my patriotic pride on my sleeve, much as I also believe my faith is a private matter. My mother was a badge wearing member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She’d worked long and hard to trace her ancestry back to a soldier who fought for our independence. I was proud of her, but I was not interested in becoming a DAR. Weird, I know, but public displays of religion (i.e. holding hands and saying grace in a restuarant) and patriotism rather embarrass me. (Hey! Don’t be too critical. It’s a personal choice. I don’t mind others being demonstrative, but it’s just not my “thing.”)
Am I proud to be an American? You better believe it. I rather took my citizenship for granted until me moved to Italy, and I realized how coveted my American passport was. Suddenly I wanted my three year old daughter to remember the USA. I made a tiny American flag for her bureau in the hotel in which we lived until our furniture arrived. Every morning Meg and I would salute the flag and sing “My Country, ’tis of Thee.”
Soon after we arrived in Italy, the USA landed our first astronauts on the moon. The morning it happened, some Italian men who where in the bar of the hotel where we were living, came to our room and took us down to the bar where everyone was watching the landing. (No, the rooms didn’t have their own television sets.)They made a path through the crowd for us; one man hoisted Meg up on his shoulders so she could see better. When Neil Armstrong stepped out onto the moon’s surface, those Italian men applauded and cheered. Many cried! They all shook my hand and explained to Meg how lucky she was to be an American. At that moment I felt the wildest shot of pride in America that I’d ever felt. I realized what an honor it is to be an American.
Three weeks ago, I felt a similar feeling. We were eating at a restuarant in New York City. Our waiter told us he was from Kosovo. I told him I’d just read a book abour Kosovo. “Was it about the time of the trouble?” he asked. When I said it was, he said, “It’s much better there now. Thanks to the Americans!” Wow!
I have often thought how lucky I am to have been born an American woman at this time. Women in so many parts of the world are treated badly – VERY badly. By the sheer luck of the draw, I am not one of them. I have a wonderful home, plenty of food and clothing, an education that has kept me doing what I love – teaching. I have two children 3000 miles away – whom I can visit without ever having to show my passport! I have a husband who, in retirement, is free to pursue his interests – of which, I a proud to say, I am at the top of that list. There is so much more that being an American provides. Mostly I take it for granted, but today I need to recognize what a wonderful life America has given me. I AM a proud American! Happy Birthday, United States of America! You may not be perfect, but you’re the very best that this world has to offer. Of thee, I sing (quietly, but proudly.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *