I can actually remember the year that it became so very important to me. It was the year 2001.
The memory of 9/11 still burns brightly in my memory. I have images, sounds, sights and feelings that are frozen in time.
Its a time that i felt more patriotic than ever before. More connected to my neighbors, my state, my country and my people.
The flags flew on peoples cars. The bridges showed patriotism as the flags were hung over the freeways.
Old Glory, isn't it a sight?.
I have no memory of NOT ever loving it. In fact, i am confused why everyone in the United States doesn't fly a flag in their yard.
There is a unification i feel when i look at it. A peace. A comfort.
The flag reminds me of my freedom. And those who fight for it. Those who have died fighting for it. And even those who have attacked it.
I know the armed forces sometimes get a bad rap. I watch the Dateline about the female service women who are mistreated. I see the bad. But i see that as a human problem. I don't want to focus it on the military.
And there may be some bad apples in there. There may just be some attention seekers.
But i will never focus on them or let them bring my pride down, not one ounce.
Because i have family and friends who serve. Who sacrifice. Who protect us.
And my heart swells with pride as i think of them.
There is a beauty in seeing a flag, flying effortlessly in the wind. A symbol of hope. Of life. Of vitality. Of freedom and of peace.
I love the feeling i get as July 4th approaches each year. I love that we take the time to remember, reminisce, and enjoy life.
Because we are Americans.
And we definitely aren't perfect, we may not agree with how we are being led.
But there is no place I'd rather be.
No land that I'd rather claim as my own.
Patriotism settles deep within me.
I feel the same emotion when i see an ambulance hurry down the road and watch as the cars hurry to pull over to help in along the way.
Or when i see an officer on the side of the road and see the cars, as they move to the left lane, to give it space, and to protect the officer.
Or when i visit a firehouse with my kids.
Or when i stand for the national anthem or hear the star spangled banner.
I can never escape the chills and the pride i feel, as i place my hand over my heart and sing along. Always fighting back tears.
This is my country.
This is where i choose to deepen my roots..
As so many things go wrong in our world today, as so many disagree across the isle. I have hope, that we can come together for the good of our Country.
Because i have seen it before....
and i know that deep within us all, we are united.
So tomorrow, like always, i will hold my head high, look to my flag with thankfulness and be kind to my neighbor.
Because we are Americans, and that --in itself--is something to be proud of.
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!!