When I was a kid, we lived near the Cobb County Fairgrounds and Dobbins Air Base. All year round there was something going on – festivals, fairs, exhibits, air shows. We would sit in the fields near the house watching C-130’s do touch n’ go’s; F-15 scream off into the sunset. F-117’s, before anyone saw them, would fly out of Locheed at dusk and we’d see them climb into the sky.
All the while, we in our camo and fake guns played war after watching Red Dawn.
Every night during festivals or fair’s, Lee Greenwood’s Proud to be an American’ would play at the end of the night and you could hear every cheer after – which meant they were going home. And once a year, Lee would actually be brought in to sing his song, usually at the end of the fair on the last night.
It’s these things that made an impact on me growing up as an American child. A father who understood the value of patriotism, hard work, love of country, and a knowledge of our history and Constitution. A mother than let us play war a little too late, and let us get a little too sunburned at the air shows. We weren’t taught the bad parts of our history, we’d learn them eventually…just as we weren’t taught about the bad parts of religion because we’d learn them on our own.
We were instilled with pride in the Flag, a love and great admiration for what our Forefathers and the Founder’s did for us, a pride in our country, a love of our state, an appreciation for what we had, an appreciation for service in our military/police/fire and rescue, an appreciation for those that made goods for purchase that bettered our lives…and a willingness to die for any of them.
We grew up in an America that, now, just one generation, seems very very different…the violence, the sex, the vitriol in our politics, the huge government that seems more involved in my daily life day after day, rising prices, a growing list of wars and a shrinking list of civil liberties.
But, despite all of these things, I always remember that it’s not the government that gave me the chance – it’s America, and the history back to our Founder’s that’s given me the chance to do something like Pramek.
And when I have traveled internationally, I am reminded of how good we have it here – and why we have to fight to keep it.
There are a lot of people so spoiled by not having to worry about food in this country that they would limit all of us in everything we do – because they have time to think about things instead of worrying about food.
That’s the danger, the curse, and the blessing of such abundance and freedom.
I am not an ‘America is better than you’ type of guy – I love being an American (where else can I have guns like I have and talk about how horrible our government growth is)…we’re a different kind of people, not better, not worse – just different than the rest of the world. Kind of like Pramek.
And if you take a moment, and look at the history surrounding July 4th, our Founding Documents and Founding Father’s (Washington had what we would consider a 6th grade education and Franklin was self-taught)…look beyond the wars and our President this term or the last…and see the spirit, the dream.
You soon realize why we are so different.
And I hope we stay that way…..
If I could figure out how to upload Lee Greenwood’s ‘Proud to be an American’, which I think is the only song anyone knows by Lee, I would – but today, I’ll walk the dogs, work out, go to a BBQ and drink a few beers, and appreciate something a lot of people don’t have: the fact the Providence gave me a chance to be an American.
And I am not going to waste that chance….Happy 4th, and to those that came before us = thank you.