As I sat here taking a break in preparing for our July 4 celebrations tomorrow, I looked outside and saw the American flag waving on our neighbor’s flagpole. Looking at that flag, though, has special meaning other than just “another American flag”. You see, our neighbors, Ruth and Laurie (short for Lawrence), now US citizens, are originally from Canada and immigrated to the USA in 1993. While still proud to be from Canada, they are some of the most patriotic and proud Americans I’ve ever met in my life. Laurie and I can, and often do, sit and talk at great lengths about this wonderful country, and the liberty and freedom on which it was founded. Though I never told them, the pride that swells inside of me every time I look up and see that beautiful flag flying, especially when it’s lit up at night, is something I am silently thankful to them for each day.
I think of my beautiful wife of 30 years, originally from the Philippines, who never refers to herself as anything but “an American”. She supported me when I enlisted in the Marines only 6 months after we were married. She was there for me when I would come home after long 12 hour night shifts as a police officer. She never wavered in her love or support for me, regardless of whether I was home or abroad, or in her love for this great country of ours and what we all have to do to defend it every day.
I think of my two amazing sons, now in their early twenties, who still say “yes sir”, “yes ma’am”, “thank you” and “please”. Who proudly love America and are amazing examples of American culture; respect, honor, dignity, and the ability for each of us to be free and pursue our dreams.
Of my friend Karl, a great Marine, and Stan, a retired Master Chief, both great but humble men who I respect more than they know. Of my grandfather, a decorated Marine in WWII and Korea. I truly miss him. Of my sister Wanda, who calls me out of the blue to tell me she loves me. Of the countless people I know and those I will never know who wear uniforms of all types, keeping us safe both at home and abroad. Our police, firemen, paramedics. Those service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.
And I think of those who get up and go to work every day, doing the countless things it takes to keep America running. Of those who are not financially wealthy, but do not complain, appreciate that we are the freest country in the world, and are all amazingly fortunate to either have been born here, or have moved here. Of the person that finds a wallet in a store and turns it in, all contents intact, and of the person who in front of you who holds the door open, letting you go in first. These are some of the countless things that make America great, for they are truly representative of American values and culture.
I think of the pride and love I have for our culture, one of the greatest cultures in the world, beginning with the freedoms we all know and, unfortunately, too many take for granted while bashing the country that gives them those very same freedoms.
Of our first amendment, which no other country in the world has. The freedom to openly denounce our very government without fear of being jailed. The freedom to have differing opinions without being arrested for “hate speech” because someone disagrees with you.
Of our second amendment, again which no other country in the world has. Where we are free to keep and bear arms, to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our country. Where we are ensured that we will never have a government attempt to take over the populace through force as we are able to protect ourselves.
And, I thank God for my salvation, and pray for the salvation of this country. I thank Him for not only those things above as well, but of the opportunity to bring America back to the intents of the founders; of limited government, personal responsibility, truly free markets, and opportunities that are shared no place on earth because, because America, and Americans, are unmatched in generosity, kindness, respect, privacy, liberty, and freedom.
Thank you, Laurie and Ruth, for flying that flag and showing your love for America. You have my eternal respect.