My point of view on what it is to be an American. Just a little warning that this is my own thoughts, not based on any text or resource, but rather based on my experiences over the past 36 years.

I’ll start by quoting a post one of my friends on Facebook posted today that really got me choked up. I normally don’t get choked up at anything and am generally even tempered and have a decent control on my outward display of emotion. This one got to me, not sure why.

This Marine deserves a medal!

“Cody Green was a 12-year old kid in Indiana who was diagnosed with leukemia at 22 months old. He loved the Marines, and his parents said he drew strength and courage from the Marine Corps as he bravely fought the battle into remission three times. Although he was cancer-free at the time, the chemotherapy had lowered his immune system and he developed a fungus infection that attacked his brain. Two weeks ago, as he struggled to fend off that infection in the hospital, the Marines wanted to show how much they respected his will to live, his strength, honor and courage. They presented Cody with Marine navigator wings and named him an honorary member of the United States Marine Corps. For one Marine, that wasn’t enough … so that night, before cody Green passed away, he took it upon himself to stand guard at Cody’s hospital door all night long, 8 hours straight. No where on the face of this planet is there a country so blessed as we to have men and women such as this. I wish I could personally tell this Marine how proud he makes me to be an American. God … I do so love this country” –Lori Boxer for The Blacksphere

That pretty much says it all. Having compassion for a person you don’t know because its the right thing to do. Doing the right thing because it feels right regardless of the personal sacrifice it may cause you or people around you. THAT is what is means to be an American in my opinion, and so few of us give anything close to this a seconds thought during our days. Days lived taking this country for granted not realizing what we have, how lucky we are, and the rights we are BORN with that so many people in other parts of the world never have their entire lives.

Just recently, one of my neighbors installed a flag pole with the American Flag on it. I was proud that they were showing their patriotism openly for others to see. Upon arriving home later that night, their flag was still out but wasn’t illuminated. At first I was “WTF?” then I had a brilliant idea that would get my point across without saying a word to them. I pulled out a 50ft extension cord, plugged it into my outside outlet, ran it across to their yard, and plugged in a spot light I staked into the ground and pointed it onto their flag and went back in the house. About 30 mins later my neighbor came over and knocked on my door asking me why I put the light on his yard lighting up his flag. I told him “It was the right thing to do” and pointed to my flag that I light every night with landscape spotlights. The next evening he came back over returning my light to me and said “Thanks. I just installed my own light.”

What grinds me the most is complaining!

  • I don’t like what the President is doing / Did you vote?
  • I can’t believe the government hasn’t done more to help? / Representation for the people, by the people.
  • I hate taxes! / Price you pay to live in a free and civilized society.
  • I can’t believe how much we spend on military / They’re protecting your freedom.

I could go on, but I won’t. It’s too subjective and personal and that isn’t the main point I’m trying to make. What I’m trying to get across is that we should all be more aware of what sacrifices are made for the good of the country we live in. They’re sacrifices are our sacrifices albeit indirectly. I personally can’t serve in the military for various reasons but that doesn’t mean I don’t thank every person I see in uniform for their service and MY freedom. I put my flag out and display my love for this country every day I can with exception to rainy days as much as I can help it. I have never missed a voting opportunity since I turned 18. I donate to our local military drives with time, food, clothing, and anything else needed to the best of my ability.

Being an American is giving a damn and making the sacrifices required to protect your freedom.

The best line I ever heard, which came from a former college professor of mine: “If you don’t like the United States, get the fuck out!” I couldn’t agree more.