In the early 1900s, my great-grandparents arrived at Ellis Island from Sweden as children.
What must they have thought as they neared the shores of their new homeland? Their entire lives were ahead of them.
Lives of freedom.
They and their parents went through the proper channels to become legal citizens, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I’m grateful that I come from a long line of patriotic Americans. As such, it made me stop and think of why I am grateful and truly proud to be an American.
- Freedom. Freedom to worship my wonderful Savior, freedom to attend church without fear of persecution, freedom to go where I wish, wear what I want, and eat my favorite foods (even if they are not always the healthy variety!) all without giving it a second thought. So many in other countries will never know these freedoms.
- Foundation. Our Founding Fathers shaping and forming our great country with a Judeo-Christian foundation.
- Gratitude. My grandfather, father-in-law, and a cousin are all veterans, who fought to keep our freedoms. My other cousin and an uncle are/were in the military stateside. So many others give sacrificially of their lives so we may enjoy the freedoms we embrace today.
- Beauty. Whether it be the tallest mountains covered in pines, the sagebrush-covered deserts, the farmlands, or the prairies, America has scenery for just about everyone and every taste.
- Individuality. I don’t have to be like everyone else. And no one else has to be like me. In America, we are individuals, each with our own ideas, opinions, likes and dislikes. At the end of the day, what bonds is us our patriotic love for our country.
- Voting. What a wonderful freedom to be able to vote for who I want to represent my country – from the city council members, to the county commissioners, state representatives, governor, and the President of the United States. I’ve taken my daughters with me every year from an early age so they can see the importance of voting. As they have heard me say, “you can’t complain about who represents us if you didn’t vote.”
- Dream. In the United States of America, I am free to dream. Free to dream of my future, my children’s future, and my grandchildren’s futures.
- Water. And not just any type of water, but clean water. May I never take for granted the ability to grab a glass of water from the tap or to take a shower.
May we always show gratitude for the many blessings we have in our country, and may we remember those who have fought and continue to fight for America’s freedoms.