Happy Birthday America!

Lately in Utah it’s been 100 degrees (38C) and if we’re lucky, cooling off to a balmy 73 (22C) at night. Has the A/C been running 24/7? Why yes, yes it has. I don’t mind the heat so much if I’m in a place where I can hop in the ocean, but we don’t jump in the Salt Lake. Why?

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It’s smelly, salty, mosquito-ridden. We much prefer it’s freshwater, algae-infested cousin to the south Utah Lake. I went last weekend during a 100 degree heatwave and did some waterskiing. Pretty scenic stuff.

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Which brings me to America, and how ridiculously beautiful my country is. We’ve got pretty much every type of world climate represented, whether beautiful beaches, purple mountain majesties, golden waves of grain—the works.

And something else I love about America, is the giant melting pot of people and cultures from around the world united under the cause of freedom. When people ask me what American food is, I shrug and half-heartedly point to a steak and potatoes, early settlers menu, but the truth is American food goes something like this: Mexican food on Monday, Thai on Tuesday, Indian, Greek, BBQ, Japanese—we eat what we want, typically when we want it.

A lot of people will try and claim America has no culture. But the truth is our culture is that you can’t stuff us into any one box, nor do we want to be. I might attend a quinceañera one day, the Japanese festival the next, and have a 4th of July BBQ the next. And that’s totally American.

I know America isn’t perfect, but you know what, I tend to value my friends by the positivity they bring to my life, and not put so much focus on their faults. Maybe someday we’ll get it right, but until then, we press on for freedom in our own ways.

And so, here’s my top things I love about America. (By the way, I’m hoping my international peeps will eventually do the same about their own countries. I’d love to read about it!)

#5 We keep striving for better. It’s hard for me to imagine growing up in an America where as a woman you had three career choices. It’s very hard for me to understand why segregation and such rampant racism happened in our past. I’m not saying these problems are completely solved, but we’re in a much better place now. Women can be whatever they dream to be, and however you feel about our current president, that was quite a big hurdle to jump over, too. We strive for better and we’re making progress and for such a young country (237 this year) I think we’re doing pretty good. We’ll keep at it.

#4 We’re all Americans, but we’re all different. Recently I was in San Francisco, a very unique and diverse city. I thought about how San Fran differs from NYC, which differs from LA, and New Orleans, Salt Lake and so on. I like that San Fran is San Fran and NYC is NYC. I don’t want everything to be exactly the same and I appreciate that each region has its own way of thinking. We’ve got all this and yet we still find a way to unite together. I guess that’s what the cause of freedom will do for you.

#3 Our Innovation. We like inventing stuff and coming up with ways to make life better for those around us. I was reading a Reader’s Digest article recently and discovered an American came up with the idea for toilet paper. How were we doing it before that? Using the Sears Roebuck catalog and… um, you don’t want to know. Henry Ford—he didn’t invent the automobile, but he did make it possible for the common American to afford one. And in recent times, I think I can just say Apple, and you get the picture.

#2 Celebrating the 4th of July. This is among my favorite holidays because what we typically did when I was a kid was go to a little parade where we got candy, have water balloon fights, BBQs and the best fireworks show this side of the Mississippi. Plus I always get to hear Neil Diamond, and that makes it a good day. 😉

#1 Because it’s my country. Most of us have a lot of love for where we came from. While I have big love for Japan and I enjoy visiting other places, there’s nothing like the homeland. I’m sure a lot of my international peeps feel the same way about their country. We love it because it’s ours, despite its imperfections.

So God bless you America. May the next 237 years be even more spectacular than we can ever imagine!

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11 thoughts on “Happy Birthday America!

  1. Excellent post! I too love the variety of food, languages and cultures that make up our American culture! As for the “striving for better” – I hope that never stops. We’ve made gains … but have more to go. Still, much to love about it here!! 🙂 Happy 4th!

  2. I’m Canadian but I understand all those feelings. I have them for Canada. In many ways I feel that our countries are like sisters. Even our birthdays are close together. July 1 and 4th.

  3. I love how great and postive this post is. 4th of July is a great holiday, and it’s always important to remember why it’s great.

    I hope you’re having a happy 4th of July, and you’re managing to stay cool for it. 😉

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