Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What Does it Mean to be American?

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.

Peace Out.

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