I’m not a proud American

I’m not your typical proud and patriotic American who loves to celebrate the fourth of July.

I haven’t been for quite some time now.

I’m not sure when the change took place exactly.

Maybe after I’d left my hometown and annual family picnics with impromptu baseball games were a thing of the past? Or maybe early in our marriage in Minnesota when everyone went north to their cabins and abandoned us in the cities and we were left to celebrate alone?

Was it the loneliness that started the cynicism towards the holiday?

I don’t think it was.

I just don’t have this sense of pride in my country. I’ve thought for a long time that my country could use a little improvement. Maybe I’ve had “the grass in greener” syndrome for awhile. Perhaps it comes from being married to someone who grew up outside the US, or that I’ve always had this desire to live overseas? I’ve seen how other places “do it better” and wish we would take some pointers from them.

This year I have the least amount of pride in America. My country is pretty embarrassing at the moment. I literally wake up every day and wonder what embarrassment I’ll read about in the news. My heart is burdened some days for all the ways our country is hurting others – both inside and outside its borders.

Granted, after living in Italy for almost two years now, perhaps I can appreciate America little more than I used to. Even if that appreciation is limited to a short list that mostly has to do with efficiency and customer service.

Yes, I have many freedoms. Yes, I’m grateful for those who fought to give us that freedom. But right now I can see that not everyone living in the land of the free feels free.  So my sense of pride and love of America still hasn’t shown up. And I’m ok with that.

So go ahead and wear your red white and blue, have your barbecues, and watch your fireworks – I love to see all your pictures and I’m glad you party up north at your cabins and with your whole extended family. We’ll light up some sparklers here while being thankful for our home country. But I’ll also be saying a prayer of hope for the future of our country and thinking of those who don’t feel so brave or free in the land that you love.

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