Saturday, July 4, 2015

I Hear America Singing

This morning as I ate my pancake breakfast and listened to the sound of a high school band marching through the streets of Pleasant Hill for the July 4th celebration, I began to reflect on what it is that I love about America.  I feel like I have always had an innate love for my country but I wanted to point out just a few of the things, big and small, that make the United States of America my "home, sweet home."
  • I came across a passage in the book, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough, that I found interesting.  The book explores the lives of Americans who went to Paris in the 1800s to study subjects such as art and medicine.  While all of them enjoyed the elegance of the architecture on Paris streets and the history of the Old World, nothing could compare to the sweetness of home.  In fact, the song "Home! Sweet Home!" was written by an American in Paris. 
    Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
    Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home;
    A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there,
    Which seek thro' the world, is ne'er met elsewhere.
    Home! Home!
    Sweet, sweet home!
    There's no place like home
    There's no place like home!
    Though I haven't really been outside of the country, those who have always say that they loved visiting other countries and experiencing other cultures but there's something special about returning home to America.  We may not have a Versailles or ancient Roman ruins but we've got the spirit of ingenuity and freedom, "a charm from the skies" if you will.  There's no place like home.
  • Country music.  Love it or hate it, you have to admit that it's pretty dang American.       
  • I love how I can travel 2500 miles east and I will still be in the same country.  I've gone on trips to places like Atlanta and Washington D.C. and I'm still rubbing shoulders with people who watch the same TV shows I do and who care about the same things.  While this is a big, diverse nation, at the core of it all, I think most of us want the same things: security, peace of mind, long-lasting relationships and friendships, etc.  It's pretty amazing when you think about it.
  • I love the fact that I have the freedom to spend my money on the things that I am passionate about.  I love that I can get an education and have a career.  While I don't have my own family yet, I'm happy to see my nieces and nephews grow up in a free country where they can develop and use their talents.  We really do have so much freedom and it's our responsibility to make sure that that freedom continues.
  • As a conservative in the San Francisco Bay Area, I run into a lot of people that I don't agree with politically.  Sometimes I get frustrated with the people around me and I disagree with them, but we still generally get along just fine.  I don't hate others that I disagree with and they don't hate me (I don't think anyway).  For example, I have a neighbor that I completely disagree with.  Their lifestyle is completely different from mine and I don't condone the things they do.  But just this morning, I heard my neighbor singing The Star-Spangled Banner and I realized that while we have different views of the world, we at least have one thing in common: our love for our country.
  • I love our history!  It has been quite a rollercoaster ride since our country's inception 239 years ago.  Not many countries have experienced as much as America has in so short a time.  We declared our independence.  We overcame the most powerful military in the world with unskilled and inexperienced soldiers, the "rabble in arms" as they were called.  We repaired a nation after fighting a bloody civil war.  We've experienced serious economic recessions and joined with other nations in world wars.  This country has a remarkable history.  Not all of it has been fun and games.  There have been quite a few missteps along the way.  But it's pretty amazing nonetheless.
It's been a while since I've sung the national anthem so I decided to sing it today.  I'n not very tech-savvy so the recording isn't great but it was kind of fun to sing both parts!