Independence Day means a lot to me.

I am a fifth generation girl. Truth be told on  my mother’s side of the family there was no slavery and on my dad’s side we think there might have been one.

I love being an American. I love being a Catholic American. I live these factors out loud everyday of my life.

To be an American to me means that I am free.

Many people take this phrase too lightly others, others too strict.

Being an American does not mean that you go to baseball games and eat hot dogs. It is not just about  waving a flag every day. Being American means we  help each other. Being an American means helping your sworn enemy, even if you do not wish to do so. You secure others dignity and pride.

Sure there are ugly things in America. I’ve experienced ways of life in other countries, so I can appreciate the difference the American experience brings.

Being American means honoring our country’s history and its diversity; understanding that there are faults, but still believing in its greatness; and working in some way to make it even better.

Being American also means exercising one’s political responsibilities: voting and being an informed citizen, and supporting equal rights for all.

Being American means acknowledging the opinions of others with whom you may disagree. It means flying the flag and knowing the words to the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance — and bursting with pride when you hear them. It means being thankful for all those who have given their lives for this country.

An American can be defined as a person who believes in the Declaration of Independence. An American is a person with inalienable rights and freedoms who believes a government’s main function is to protect those rights and freedoms from internal and external threats.

An American is someone willing to give his life to secure his and others’ freedom, as so many did in a Civil War that threatened to tear this country apart.

An American is someone willing to sacrifice his life to protect this nation from foreign threats, as 400,000 did in World War II.

An American, over the course of our history, has been someone willing to stand up and march to secure freedoms for women, immigrants and African-Americans; someone willing to let the government know it made a mistake.

I love the stars and stripes. I love my country. I know we have  issues, but I know that I can help fight the fight and stay woke by making sure the system works.

I challenge you to be a great American.

Happy 4th of July.

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