November 11th, 2011


Journal of gratitude, entry #13: America

I'm not feeling the best right now, so it's hard to summon my usual enthusiasm for my gratitude entry. Today is Day #13, and I'm grateful for America.

When I was little, we had these "Power of" books, and they told the real story of a person in history who exhibited the whatever "power" the book was about. So, "The Power of Dreaming" featured Walt Disney, and "The Power of Sportsmanship" featured John Thorpe. These books left huge impression on my young mind. I wanted nothing more than to emulate these real people who had done these amazing things. "The Power of Patriotism" told the story of Francis Scott Key, and it was from the moment I first read it, that I became grateful for America, and all that it stood for. (Each book also came with a respective song; click here to download "Patriotism." You'll see why I was so enamored.)

I grew up in the 1980s, and we were taught that our country was the best country in the whole world, and I believed it. I have a rich family history when it comes to this country. Some of my ancestors came over on the Mayflower. One of my ancestors actually signed The Declaration of Independence. To think that some of my ancestors had a small part to play in the formation of this country gives me great pride. My grandpa served in the Navy during World War II. My brother is currently serving in The Air Force.

I feel that it is fortuitous that this entry happens to line up with Veterans Day. I'm grateful for all who have fought for this country, giving up their own personal liberties to protect our own. While I personally do not like war at all, I feel that we are lucky to live in a country where we are protected by our military and our technology.

Nothing makes me more grateful for America than actually going out of America for any length of time. And, while I've only ever been to Mexico, there is a palpable difference between here and Mexico. Even the spirit of the land feels different to me. I cross the border into TJ, and immediately I feel the difference in the air. Plus, there is a very prominent difference in the way that things look. And that makes me super grateful for America, because TJ and San Diego are basically on the same plot of earth. They are environmentally identical, and yet what America was able to do with that land is so much more beautiful than what Mexico has done with the land. (I'm not trying to diss Mexico or anything like that; I'm just demonstrating a point.)

I feel like America has lost some of its awesomeness over the course of my life. I listen to "Patriotism," and it makes me cry! I feel like kids aren't learning the lessons of patriotism, and how it's great to be respectful to an ideal, and how our country was founded on principles of morality and Providence. These values should never dull with age. They should always shine brightly, as should we, as exemplifiers of these morals. Is that the case anymore? I'm not sure.

That doesn't stop me from loving this country with all of my heart. In my personal prayers, I never forget to thank God for where I live now. I've read horrible stories about people who have lived through the Holocaust, or through horrific political upheavals in places like Cambodia, and I can't believe how I've hit the jackpot when it comes to places to live in the world. I know I take for granted the feeling that I am safe and accounted for. I don't have to feel suspicious or like a victim, or like I might be a victim at any moment. It's a tremendous feeling, and probably most people in the world don't feel that way, but I do. And I'm grateful for America, because I know that it is this country that allows me those freedoms and liberties.

This is a picture of my brother in his Air Force uniform.

This is a picture of my grandpa in his Navy uniform.

(You have no idea how hard it was to write "uniform" instead of "outfit," which is what I wanted to write.)