Tuesday is my America-versary. Yearly on July twentieth, my household commemorates the day my mom and I arrived in America. My father and grandmother had arrived a few years earlier. We acquired out. We’re free. We have a good time.
We are going to toast our luck and declare: The USA is the best nation within the historical past of the world, and we’re so grateful to get up right here.
Saying so shouldn’t make anybody uncomfortable. But it surely does.
It’s a troublesome second to be a patriot. Radicals are rewriting our historical past, framing America not as a shining beacon of freedom, however a pit of wickedness. They’re recasting our heroes as villains.
This isn’t a fringe sentiment. That article concerning the “polarizing” nature of the US flag ran in The New York Instances. The Nationwide Soccer League is playing the “black national anthem” earlier than video games this fall.
However as an immigrant, I get to reject all of this out of hand. I’ve observed I get a move for my unabashed love. There’s no discomfort for me in celebrating this nation brazenly and infrequently.
I don’t parse. I don’t qualify. I don’t say, “I like America however,” similar as I don’t say, “I like my husband however,” or “I like my kids however.” There is no such thing as a however.
Too usually, I hear variations on this line: “After all, you assume America is so nice, it beats the choice for you.” The implication is that as an immigrant, I don’t know any higher. But it surely’s the America-haters who don’t know.
I’m very conscious of the life I virtually had.
Final week, when Cubans took to the streets to demand their freedom from the tyranny of their Communist regime, they waved the American flag. So too did the protesters in Hong Kong and Venezuela in 2019.
There’s a purpose that individuals who ache to be free wave our flag. We’re the sunshine within the darkness for freedom-loving individuals everywhere in the world. We must always swell with pleasure on this.
It shouldn’t take residing below totalitarianism to acknowledge how good we’ve got it in america. It shouldn’t be uncomfortable to say that we’re the best nation that ever was. You needn’t have escaped from Communism to understand it.
It worries me that so many who have been born free discard their birthright, deal with it as irrelevant or unimportant. I’m elevating three kids. I like celebrating my yearly America-versary, however I like much more that my kids don’t have one. They’re Individuals from beginning. They’ve by no means been the rest. They’re the luckiest.
However there may be additionally my problem: how one can train these little Individuals to not take what they’ve been gifted as a right. I grew up with the tales of what my life would have been within the Soviet Union. I noticed the sacrifices made for me up-close.
My mom by no means noticed her father once more. Her mom visited America a number of instances however barely spoke, afraid she was being adopted, afraid the Communists have been eavesdropping on her conversations. Transferring to America was wonderful, an important miracle, our salvation. However nothing about it was straightforward, and I knew it.
How do I move alongside that easy like to my kids? How do I hold grateful the children who’ve by no means identified the despair of subjugation? How do I move alongside the simple immigrant patriotism to native-born Individuals made to really feel self-conscious for loving their nation?
I inform them: True patriotism doesn’t ignore the nation’s ills. However true patriots additionally don’t spend all of their time specializing in injustices or self-flagellating for an imperfect historical past. You reside in one of the best nation within the historical past of nations. It’s not even shut.
Realize it. Cherish it. There will probably be no place to flee to if we give this up. There will probably be no different flags to wave.