Singing Loudly: A Little Bad With All The Good

Singing Loudly

Monday, May 30, 2005

A Little Bad With All The Good

Being that it's Memorial Day, I feel some sort of an urge to post about all the things that make me proud of being an American. Of course, they are too numerous to mention. I remember the summer that I spent in Ireland was wonderful but something was always missing. My friend Jason and I were walking along one of the streets to go to one of the many closed jails turned into museums one afternoon. He asked me if I thought I would ever want to live abroad. After a little thinking, I told him that I would probably be able to do it short term, but I couldn't just stay in another country.

There's something about America that makes all of us feel at home. There's something about Americans that make other people feel some sort of envy at times. Our culture is unique, our caring for others is outstanding, our food is eclectic like no others, and there is nothing that could ever make me want to give it up.

There are, no doubt, problems in America. There are things that I get upset about just like others. However, the fact that I feel perfectly free to feel however I damn well please says enough right there. I don't get frustrated with my gripes because I know that at some point they will be redressed. Even if not, it isn't usually something so ugly and horrible that I would ever want to escape.

I'm proud of this country because we are a country that accepts refugees, asylees, and people who just want to help make their own life and America a better place. I urge you to attend a naturalization ceremony some day and see the joy on the faces of our newest citizens. It is often one of the most proud days in their lives. I'm proud that I'm going to be working at a place that helps to assure they are going about living in America in a legal fashion. I'm proud to help them feel the same joy in America that I remembered while I was in Ireland.

I'm also proud of my brother-in-law who was hit by a hand grenade in Iraq and was sent home. While he was at home he could only long for going back to be with his troop. He was upset that he was at home at the time that in infantry captured Saddam, and pushed harder to get to a place where he was able to return. After going back his group came back to the States and he can't wait to go back in September. His dedication to making sure that he does his job, which is to protect America is overwhelming. We hope that he doesn't collect a second Purple Heart but I'm certainly proud of his first.

Finally, I have to admit that while I cringe at the idea of America torturing people. At the idea of America holding captured possible "enemies" without trial in Guantanamo. I am proud that attorneys are volunteering in droves to represent all of the people who are being held as America won't provide appointed representation.

I remember that when I was abroad it seemed like most people did like Americans, but many did not like the government. I'm proud that our identity as a country and as an entity are different. Being an American doesn't tie anyone to any one thing in particular. But I do think that generosity, caring, artistic pursuits, curiosity, and helpfulness are some of the things that most Americans share.

On this memorial day it's nice to be able to think about all the brave people who have come and gone before me to make America what it is; and, of course, all the many Americans who are doing just that right now. Thank you so much to everyone who is serving in the many armed forces for protecting America and all the flag stands for.


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