Have you ever REALLY thought about what it means to be an American? It is more than freedom, it is more than liberty. I had a reporter contact me yesterday because he is doing a 4th of July piece where he is asking people what it means to them to be American.
As I drove to the interview, I wasn't sure what I was going to say. Of course everyone has to say the age old answers - liberty and freedom. For me, it is much more than that. I know how blessed I am to have been born an American. When did I first realize that? Maybe when I joined the Army National Guard and started college. I've always been proud to be an American and always had a sense that I was blessed to have been born here, but it wasn't until adulthood that I really understood how huge a blessing God had bestowed upon me.
I often describe my childhood as living in the pit of Hell. I grew up in coo-coo psychoville, as I like to call it. Had I been born in another country, I likely would not have had the opportunity to overcome the family of my birth and found success. If I had been born in a communist country, I believe I would have been trapped in the situation to which I was born. Drugs, alcohol, and abuse were common around our house. As I said in my post, Why I Am Republican, I have a brother who committed suicide, another brother who died of a drug overdose, and a third brother who has been in and out of prison since 1989.
I was the only of my siblings to graduate high school. Two of my brothers did get their GEDs, eventually. I am the only one in my family to graduate from college. I am blessed to be American. I joined the Army National Guard when I was 18 and haven't looked back. Much. I attribute my ability to run and earn an athletic scholarship to the years I spent running from my abusive brothers (always look on the bright side!). I believe one of the many blessings of being an American is that we all have opportunities to succeed and overcome life's challenges. I was able to work my way through college. The Guard paid my tuition at a state college, I received an academic and athletic scholarship, and I worked. I was a resident assistant, waited tables, worked in offices filing papers, worked as a nanny, worked at daycares and even worked as a physical therapy aide. I didn't have much time for studying, but, by the grace of God, I graduated from college with a 4 year degree- something no one else in my family had ever done.
Only in America. I am blessed and proud to be an American.