Why I’m proud to be an American

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.

As we embark on yet another Independence Day (where does the time go? July already?!) It made me stop and think of why I am grateful and truly proud to be an American.

  1. 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. praying
  2. Foundation. Our Founding Fathers shaping and forming our great country with a   Judeo-Christian foundation.
  3. 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. veteran
  4. 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. farmland
  5. 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.
  6. 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.”abrahan lincoln
  7. 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.
  8. 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.  water

Happy 4th of July! 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.

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A Special Thank You to All Our Veterans!

I was going to post my silly story, “The Legend of Mr. Fuzzy” today, but thought I would delay that humor post until next week and instead focus on our veterans…

Today we celebrate Veteran’s Day and remember all of those who fought and continue to fight to keep our country free. My grandfather, John J. Brown, was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War.  I still recall his stories of those wars and how he contracted malaria while in the Philippines. I remember his stories of  long train rides where he and his fellow soldiers had to stand the entire distance in cramped quarters.

 A man I once interviewed, Tom Bell, was a member of a B-24 bomber crew in World War II.  During the interview for my book, Wyoming Treasures, (Medallion, 2005),  Tom told me “It’s a pretty fearsome thing to face death every two or three days for one week after another.” He would later succomb to an eye injury “We were flying to bomb an airfcraft ball bearing factory…it was one of the most heavily defended areas in Europe and the flak was very bad…We were flying at 25,000 feet, it was 40 below zero, approaching the target, and my bombsight was all ready. As we approached, I took one last look out, and as I did, a German piece of flak hit me and blew my right eye out…Plexiglas had also hit my left eye and one piece had been embedded in the cornea.” Fortunately a gifted doctor at the Mayo Clinic was able to save Tom’s left eye so he would still have sight from one eye.

Another man I had the honor to interview was also a World War II Vet.  John “Ace” Bonar was drafted into the War in 1943 and served for three years in Europe with the 86th Combat Division, known as “Black Hawk,” following the Battle of the Bulge. “It was a dangerous time. I was scared for my life all the time,” Ace told me. He recalled a particularly harrowing time. “‘The eight-eights [German anti-tank weapon] almost got us.’  A noise that sounded like thunder, produced by a large and dangerous weapon, shook the ground and reverbated in John’s direction.”  [Even decades after the War] when John heard thunder, “he relived the days when the sound was much more than a weather condition. ”

My cousin, Jim, proudly served in the Iraq War.  Several of our friends have or are continuing to serve in the War on Terror.  I am friends with military wives, who watch as their husbands face danger each day to protect our freedoms. A special thank you to those wives and families – our prayers are with you and with your husbands.

So it is to you – veterans of all the wars in the past and those still happening today – thank you! We appreciate you and vow never to forget what you did for us and how you sacrificed your lives for us.

To our soldiers serving today – no words can ever express our gratitude to you. May God bless you and your families and keep you safe. May you return home safely to your families and may we never forget the sacrifices you make daily to protect the citizens of the United States.

Happy Veteran’s Day! I’d love to hear stories about the veterans in your life!