I believe there’s a big streak of patriotism in even the most jaded Americans
We get caught up in the struggles of our daily lives, lose faith in our leaders and wonder if we’re ever going to be able to trust a politician again. Is it another war in the Middle East inevitable or did it ever really end? Yet I believe that even the most jaded of us has a big streak of patriotism. There are situations that never fail to give me a rush of pride and gratitude for the freedoms that we enjoy—or the people who helped provide them.
- It gets me every time. Standing up to sing The National Anthem at Giants games at AT&T Park—42,000+ people peacefully united in their love of baseball. The line about “the land of the free and the home of the brave”—I look around me at the hugely diverse group of people that can only happen in the Bay Are and I get a lump in my throat every single time.
- Pursuit of the American Dream. At last year’s 4th of July celebration, I sat at a table with an Iranian family who fled political persecution during the fall of the Shah and the rise of the Ayatollah. It’s a familiar tale: they came to the US with hardly more than the clothes on their back. A family of privileged intellectuals in Iran, their first home was with their brother in Sacramento—five people in one room. They found minimum wage jobs, worked hard and sent their kids to college.
- My father, a medic in WWII. He must have seen unimaginable horror. Yet he never—ever—spoke of the war or the battlefield. He never told war stories or talked about the men he saved or the friends he lost. He came home, got married, started a successful business and a family and got on with his life.
- The rule of law. Terrorism is a fact of life for everyone these days, but we don’t live with its threat on a daily basis—at least not yet. We live in a society that respects the rule of law. Celebrate freedom from torture and mistreatment, the freedom to gather and protest without fear of recrimination.
- Women’s rights. Sure, we have a long way to go, but we’ve made enormous progress. I see young women today who are growing up with one important ingredient that was missing as previous generations matured. They’re fearless—growing up with an unparalleled belief that they can do anything.
- Achieving business success. This is my sixth year of being a business owner. I launched Top of Mind Marketing because I had to, not out of a burning desire or fulfillment of a lifelong dream. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m finally enjoying success from a lot of hard work. The spirit of entrepreneurism was born right here in America and nowhere has it flourished the way it has right here in our own backyard. Starting and growing a business–this opportunity simply does not exist in other countries.
- Freedom to marry. I just did a little research, and there are 79 countries around the world in which homosexuality is illegal; In 10 of these countries, being gay is punishable by execution. In Egypt and countless other countries, the morality police raid homes and clubs and throw gay people in jail. Here in the US, just in time for the 4th of July, everyone now has the right to marry, regardless of sex. In the words of President Obama: “We’ve made our union a little more perfect.”
Every 4th of July, I look around me and I think about the simple pleasures we enjoy that make me very happy to be an American.
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