04 July 2010

america, america.

I love America.  I love that the Fourth of July is the day I get to wave my nationalist freak flag, let my patriotic cup overflow with stars and stripes and eagles, and permit tears come right to the surface when I hear "America, The Beautiful."

I love that I've lived in so many parts of this great nation.  From my earliest years in the heartland of Oklahoma to growing up amidst Washington's evergreens, to my collegiate journey amongst the arid mountain vistas of Utah to the gritty urbanity of Philadelphia.  These places and the people I've known in them have made me who I am--O beautiful for spacious skies / For amber waves of grain / For purple mountain majesties /Above the fruited plain!
America! America! / God shed His grace on thee / And crown thy good with brotherhood /From sea to shining sea!

I love that America was a place my ancestors wanted to come to- from the minister who came to Virginia's red soil in the 1740s from Ireland to my great-grandfather who came from Denmark as a young man, working in dairies as he made his way west-- O beautiful for pilgrim feet / whose stern impassion'd stress / thoroughfare for freedom beat / Across the wilderness.

I love that the history of America is my life's work.  I love it for all its flaws and missteps, in spite of its shameful inequalities and slow progress towards change.  I love getting a sense of what mattered to Americans, understanding how their dreams and vision shaped the world we live in today.  I love that our Constitution provides us with freedom of expression, equal protection, and the opportunity to vote and elect representatives-- America! America! / God mend thine ev'ry flaw / Confirm thy soul in self-control / Thy liberty in law.

I love that America is a country that people in my family have fought for.  From the Revolutionary War to the right and wrong sides of the Civil War to Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq, my people have been there, giving all.  I am so proud of my mom, a courageous servicewoman who sacrifices every single day to contribute to the cause of freedom-- O beautiful for heroes prov'd in liberating strife / who more than self their country loved / and mercy more than life.  

I love that this country gives me hope.  I love the sense that things are going to get better and brighter, that opportunity is just around the corner.  I love coming home after trips abroad.  I love our past, our present, our future, is proud, persistant, and promising because we are Americans.  I love that my dad put a seventeen foot flagpole in our front yard, I love seeing the flag hanging in my window, I love to see it waving from the back of my brother's bike. I love everything that America is to me-- America! America! / May God thy gold refine / Till all success be nobleness / And ev'ry gain divine.
O beautiful for patriot dream/ That sees beyond the years / Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!

(lyrics from here)


Matt in Tacoma said...

Brought a tear to each eye...Happy Independence Day!

Mom said...

This is a beautiful read! Happy 4th to the family historian!