While I was younger I was never particularly patriotic. I didn't feel like I needed to say the Pledge of Allegiance ever. I hated singing the national anthem. And mostly, I enjoyed the 4th of July because it is a party holiday. I always felt gipped when I finally realized how long my parents had gotten away with telling me that the fireworks and parades on the 4th were for my birthday. It was such a let down when those things that made my birthday so special weren't mine.
I have never hated being an American, but I am not sure I fully comprehended how blessed I am to be an American. I never hated the wars, or the people fighting them for me, but I never thanked those people, even just in a prayer I never said that I was grateful they were doing that for me.
This year things have been different. At some point this summer I found my patriotism and finding it has made me feel more grown up than my 21st birthday has made me feel.
A couple weeks ago I was brought to tears hearing this year's Timpview Band playing Hymn to the Fallen. I have heard Timpview perform this song in previous years, but maybe I wasn't ready for it in the past or maybe I was a little more open to the idea of patriotism this year. Whatever the reason, I was so moved by that piece of music that I began to think more of how ungrateful I had been growing up. Not only to my country, but to my father as well.
My papa sacrificed so much to come to the United States and become the great man he is today. He came here to study and he met my mother. They fell in love and they got married. He ate potatoes and Top Ramon for six months to pay for my mothers engagement ring. He continued to work at his education, studying during the day and working at night to pay for it. He studied to become an American citizen. And when he became an American citizen I wouldn't even say the Pledge of Allegiance at the ceremony. My father had worked so hard to get where he had and I, being the selfish fourth grader I was, wouldn't even say it with my dad when he became a citizen.
I cried even harder after thinking about all the things my father had done to become a citizen, and how I just took it for granted because I was born a citizen. I continued to cry as I thought about the countless times I hadn't thanked God for putting me here in America, with hard working parents, and with the ability to worship Him freely. And I cried when it finally hit me that millions of lives had been sacrificed so that I could continue to live in a free nation.
After reassessing where my feelings toward my country had been I decided that I was indeed a patriotic person. I have found a new passion in being an American, because I am proud to be an American. And it's the right kind of pride, the kind of pride that says I am so grateful to live in a free country, the kind of pride that makes me humble because I am not the one fighting away from my family and friends so that I can live in a free country. I live free because someone, countless numbers of someones have given their lives in service of this country.
So, Day 26 of my song challenge is a song that made me feel guilty once, but now it makes me feel patriotic.
Hymn to the Fallen by John Williams from Saving Private Ryan
I would like to especially thank Dr. Fullmer, the director of Timpview High School Band, for teaching me many valuable lessons while I was in high school, but for also continuing to teach me after I have graduated. What you have done with the Normandy Project, the DC Project, and now this year's Pearl Harbor Project truly amazes me. I know you do not do it alone, but I have always admired what you can bring out in a band and your band this year has touched me and taught me something I never would have learned even had I participated in past projects. Hearing the Pearl Harbor Project band quite literally has changed my life this summer, and it has made my life something worth living for.