America = Freedom

I am an American. I haven't always been one. Many years ago I came to live here and started a family. Over the years I came to know and love this country, and proudly took “the oath”.

Sometimes, in a moment of reflection, I think about what America is all about. My perspective may be a little different from most Americans, almost as if from the outside looking in. Maybe I don’t take for granted what this country has to offer.

“Freedom” for instance, what a loosely used word. I have seen what oppression looks like. I have seen the wall long before it came down, and the crosses and wreaths where the people wanted so much to be free, that they risked their lives to achieve that goal – and lost. I have lived in places where terrorist threats were common long before 9-11. And we, as Americans, had to get license plates to make us blend in with the natives, and we were told not to travel in military clothes so as not to stand out too much. And the people of the host country were grateful that we were there.

I look at this country, and I see the big cities, where buildings reach for the sky, and in contrast the farm houses that are miles apart and miles from nowhere, and the road seems to go on forever.

And I see the people. I see the guns and the drugs that are such a big part of this country, and that scare me so much. And I hear the complaints about the neighbors and the taxes and the government. And it’s ok to complain. The freedom and the right to do so belong to all. I marvel at how people of all backgrounds and ages and religions pull together in a moment of crisis and help one another because, after all, they are all Americans, and that’s what Americans do.

And I see the little children with their moms standing by the side of the road, flag in hand, still unable to believe that such evil has hit, but determined to proudly show their colors. The cars drive by and honk their horns. Only in America! All is well.

And I think what a great country this is. I am here, and I am grateful.


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