I've always enjoyed the 4th of July --and I love my country. But truth be told, I didn't grow up celebrating the birth of America. I grew up celebratin' the birth of Canada. Every year on the 1st of July, we were in the Great White North, eating hamburgers, lighting fireworks, watching the parade, going to the rodeo, gathering with extended family, sometimes camping...
...sounds like the 4th of July here, eh?
Well, that's because it is.
The only difference I have ever seen between July 1st in Canada and July 4th in America is strictly the country for which we sing and celebrate. The fireworks, the parades, the rodeos, the cotton candy, the hot dogs, the cake, the sparklers, the swimming, the fake tattoos, the fairs, the colors (except for blue, yo!) are ALL THE SAME.
And yet, people are so quick to mock the Canadians for being "different." I just don't get it.
So, you can see that although I grew up celebrating a country I'm not a citizen of, I still got in my healthy dose of patriotism and love for my heritage. The funny part is how easy, easy, easy, easy it was to transfer those feelings to the USA, especially when I started spending more time here during the 4th of July. I'm not a hater. I love my country (and heck! I have a soldier brother who has already served one year in Iraq! Brandon's father was in the army, his grandfather served in Germany during WWII and his other grandfather served in the Philippines during Korea --we love our Veterans around here!), and I love my freedoms. I would never speak badly of my country (except the normal frustrations with tax season, wars, and health care), and I will love it until I die. At the same time, however, I'm a big enough girl to notice when other countries feel the same about their own nations --and can applaud them for their own patriotism (well, without the support of terrorism and such, of course. I just can't get behind stuff like terrorism. Or genocide. Or nuclear threats. You know?). Because America doesn't have all the claim on patriotism. We may be dang good at it! But we don't own it all.
Now, what does this mean? Well, even though I will be lovin' the barbecue, the parade, the fireworks, and the Stars and Stripes tomorrow, I will also be glad for all those other countries out there that take the time to celebrate their own birthdays with pride and gratitude. Loving one's country is not just an American thing. It's a world thing.
And hallelujah for that!