Friday, July 3, 2009
Not too long ago an nine year-old boy crossed the United States border with his family in flight from an abusive patriarch and oppressive country. They traveled with green cards but knew they would illegally stay in the Land of Opportunity when the cards expired 72 hours later. In the crevices of their mind and the veins in their hearts, they knew Life would be different in the Estados Unidos. With nothing more than hope and love, a family of five lived on one income from a single mother working in a sweatshop in downtown LA.
Sun rise. Sun set. Sun rise. Sun set. Like in Fiddler on the Roof, swiftly passed the years and the eight year-old boy decided to fight for a country which gave him the right to be who he wanted to be: a legal citizen. Viet Nam took the lives of many Americans, but it gave my father back his. He returned to the United States of America as a legal citizen and flaunts this privilege in the simplicity of hanging a red, white, and blue flag on his porch everyday and pushing out his chest with pride everything we pass Camp Pendelton or anything USMC. He still proffers the Jarhead mantra, No blood, no pain, and has a collection of Marine Corps paraphernalia in his office at work. I make fun of my father on occasion for his obsession with Hoooorhaaah'ing every Marine that passes him and believing he can still run a mile in six minutes flat.
But in all antics and sentimentalism that I'm expecting to see tomorrow, I know that my father will be sincerely and aunthentically moved to tears when our national anthem is played. Why? Well, because he is a citizen by choice, not by right. Through fighting for the public's right to speak against American officials, boycott the war, or lambast American foreign policy, he proudly stood on foreign soil fighting for a country he CHOSE to be a part of. Now I am a grateful recipient of his sacrifice. Because of him and millions of others, I am free to live in this country I call home, proud to say I'm American, and humbled that I have the privilege of waving my red, white, and blue flag tomorrow while celebrating the birth of my country.