by Mekelle Tenney
I’m from a small town in Southern Utah, population 300. The 4th of July celebration is a big deal and something that everyone looks forward to. The day starts with the flag raising and the national anthem. We then have the traditional hot cake breakfast and a parade down Main Street (it usually lasts about 5 minutes). The rest of the day is full of events like water games, the horse shoe competition, tug of war, a softball game, and an assortment of performances of patriotic songs. The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays because I love America and I love celebrating my freedom. With all that’s wrong in our country it is easy to forget all that’s right with our country. I am very frustrated with our country, our leaders, and our people. We have a lot we need to fix, a lot we need to change, and a lot of room for improvement. But despite our short comings, our mistakes, and our bad decisions we still have reason to love our country.
I love America because we recognize and understand that our rights are God given, we protect and defend those rights. I love America because I can practice my religion without fear of being imprisoned or killed. I love America because I can express my beliefs without government approval. I love America because we are free to work and provide for our families. Our economy allows us to prosper. We have clean water, power, food, air conditioning, heating, indoor plumbing, and toilet paper. We often don’t stop to think about the millions of people around the world who will never know these simple luxuries. We have access to modern medicine such as vaccines and antibiotics. In many countries people die from small cuts simply because they don’t have the means to clean it. I love America because I have the freedom to choose the best education for my children.
I love America’s history. When first we began, in the eyes of the world we were “nobodies.” We were subject to a king who continually denied us our rights. But we knew better, we knew that rights are not granted or created by a government. We knew that God made men to be free and we were willing to pay the price for that freedom. I think one of my favorite lines from our history comes from the Declaration of Independence, “with firm reliance of Divine Providence we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” Our history is that of faith and honor, sacrifice and suffering. We have made mistakes. But what makes us different from so many other countries is that we change. We understand that there is right and wrong and we aren’t afraid to do what’s right.
America is what it is because of us. The good and the bad are all a result of our choices. Being American means responsibility. It means hard work. It means sacrifice. Above all else being American means you are blessed. I love being American.