What does the 4th of July mean to you? Fireworks? Family time? BBQ? The independence of the United States? To us it’s all of it and it’s also the day we celebrated our wedding anniversary so it has a bit more icing on top, but don’t worry I won’t concentrate on that. I will however focus on what it means to be an American. To me it means a lot, perhaps because I wasn’t born an American but way before I was given a citizenship I felt like an American. I’m well aware that many could care less about politics or the government and they yawn at the idea of history, but in my opinion I think it’s because they take it for granted.
All I hear lately, especially on an election year, it’s how horrible our country is. I will be the first to join the band wagon and could create an endless list of what we need to and could do to improve our country. But the beauty of it all is that as horrible as it all may seem, this country was built upon some amazing foundations to include our Constitution which allows for improvement given the right minds come together, people unit so democracy can prevail. It’s disheartening though as an immigrant to see so many US born Americans take their rights for granted… correction… they exercise their rights with little care, without actually taking the time to study or learn. I say this because as a teacher I’ve witnessed seniors getting ready to graduate without knowing their 50 states (or that there are actually 50 states!), not to mention how to spell them or their capitals (I even had a student ask if Salt Lake City was a state!??!). Some may argue that it’s not important, but is it also not important to know our history? What happened in 1776? We demand our rights, but don’t care how we came about getting them?
Let me remind everyone that for immigrants to become citizens they need to prove their loyalty to this country and they need to study the American history, aside from paying a lot of money to the government and jumping through hoops and loops and many years of being looked at like you don’t belong here. As a parent it is my goal that my American-born children will know as much about their country as I can teach them and that they will be an example unto others and treat all, citizens and non-citizens, like they would like to be treated… with the opportunity to pursue their happiness. So for the 4th of July we celebrate traditions new and old, family, being an American, history, and all those who serve to protect the rights that we hold so dear. Hope everyone had a blessed and safe 4th of July!