I’ve always been glad to live in America. Growing up, I knew that our country was free to do a lot of things that other countries were not. I knew that people came to our country to get jobs. Unfortunately, it was not until I was an adult that I learned just how free we are here, and grew to be *proud* of my country, not just happy to live here. The things we take for granted are privileges that many countries just don’t have. I learned that people fought for our rights to have these freedoms and that many of them died.
I regret now that I did not have history teachers that instilled a desire in me to learn more about our country’s history. We spent a great deal of time on Texas history, however. Even then, it was unfortunate that my history teachers cared more about devoting their time to coaching a team than they did teaching us anything. I didn’t learn that true American pride from my family either. I mean, sure, they were glad to be here. My father moved to the states from Canada when he was a young adult, but he held on to his Canadian citizenship. My mom’s dad served in WWII, but he passed away when I was 6, and we only lived in the same state for less than 1 of those years. I never heard his stories, or even knew of his service except in passing when someone would mention he fought in the war. In fact, it was only a week ago that I learned from my mom that he was awarded the Purple Heart. He had been shot, and left for dead, until someone came across his body and kicked it just to make sure…and he moved. Growing up, Memorial Day was just another 3 day weekend to have picnics. Veteran’s Day went by without a word. It is no longer that way for me.
When I met Hubby, and learned that he had served our country in the Army for 7 years, I was intrigued. I love hearing his stories and seeing his pride for our country. I loved seeing the feeling and emotion he had when we took a trip to Washington D.C. together, and visited many of the memorials. He took me to watch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and it brought tears to my eyes as he watched with the upmost respect and cringed at the people who were showing no respect at the “show” they were watching. Even then, years before we had children, he spoke of teaching our children pride for our country and respect for the military. I remember when he once noticed that a building had hung their Texas flag upside down, and have since realized that many people don’t know which side is up (Remember it like this: the red is on the bottom to symbolize the blood shed). If the red is at the top, it is a sign of distress or extreme danger. He takes off his hat, and puts his hand over his heart at the singing of the National Anthem.
I can now say that I am truly PROUD and BLESSED to live in America! It’s a different feeling than just being happy to be here. That has grown immeasurably over the past decade, and I am so thankful. I love having the chance to learn history all over again as I read and Hubby answers my many questions, and as we together teach our daughter. I love that we are instilling a sense of pride in her already, as we teach her about other countries and why we are free in America.
Memorial Day is not just another 3 day weekend. Sure, I was glad to have Hubby home for an extra day, but I also know that there were many widows, widowers, parents and children who were spending the day without a loved one who died while protecting our right to be free. For that, I am honored and thankful.
It would seem that we are doing an ok job of teaching Bug about these things, because we overheard this conversation between her and the neighbor friend on Sunday evening:
Bug: “You know what tomorrow is? It’s Memorial Day. It’s the day we celebrate the people that have defended our country from the bad guys.” (she didn’t mention that it’s to celebrate those that died, but she knows that)
Although, we still have a little work to do, because she followed with this:
Bug: “Daddy, who is the bad Army? Is it the Canadians?”
Daddy: “No, baby, they are on our side!”
She is so excited that Daddy is going back into the Army, “to fight the bad guys”!
So, THANK YOU, to each and every one of you that have lost someone you love on my behalf as they served our country to protect our rights and freedoms. Thank YOU to the families who gave the ultimate sacrifice because they have to live without someone they love. Thank you for loving your country so much that you supported your loved one as they fought for us. Thank you!