I hope my friends from other countries will forgive me for a little flag waving today. I am proud to be American. I love my country. I think everyone should love their country, want what is best for it and its peoples, no matter what country they live in. I happen to live in the United States of America.
My ancestry here goes back to the 1700s. While going through my parents papers this year, my brother found a document showing that our great-great grandfather came to a settlement called Carimona in what was to become Minnesota in 1776 at the age of 6. Yes –while the founding fathers were declaring our independence from King George back east in Philadelphia, my ancestors were already working the land west of the Mississippi River. We have been here since before this country was a country. This is my native land.
Not all of my ancestors were in Minnesota that early, of course. Like most Americans I have a mixed ancestry — mine is mostly from northern europe: Scots, French, German, English, and Scots-Irish. These people found their way across the Atlantic, and across a wilderness. Some were looking for religious freedom, others came for economic reasons. But they all came here looking for a better life for themselves and their children. They built homes and farms and schools and businesses. In the process, they built a country.
Although great-great granddad was too young to fight in the Revolutionary War, our family has been honored to serve our country in times of war. My great grandfather enlisted in the Minnesota Volunteers in the Civil War and was wounded at the battle of Nashville. My grandfather served in the US Army during the Spanish American War, and my father served in the US Navy in WWII. My brothers and I served in the Air Force and Navy during the Viet Nam war. Two of my brothers made the military their career and I had a Civil Service career. We bleed stars and stripes.
Today is the Fourth of July, the day the Declaration of Independence was signed way back in 1776. It set the colonies on a journey to freedom. It is a journey that our country is still on today. Americans will always fight for freedom. The United States of America is a great country, and I am proud to call it my home.
Happy Birthday, America!!
My Native Land
by Sir Walter Scott
Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne’er within him burn’d,
As home his footsteps he hath turn’d
From wandering on a foreign strand!
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonour’d, and unsung.