July 4th. Independence Day. I love this holiday. It’s bittersweet though.
My grandfather fought in World War II. He loved his country. He never talked about the war. My grandmother told us that he would sometimes wake up at night in a cold sweat. The only time he ever opened up to me about it was right before I moved to Germany. He told me the German people are a great people. He and his fellow soldiers were taught to hate the Germans in the war, but many of them could not.
The Germans they encountered were people beat down by the war. They were starving and penniless. The soldiers were commanded not to give their rations to the German civilians because of the need to keep up their own strength, but my grandfather along with others often gave what they could.
My grandfather was a great man. He died most appropriately on July 4th, 2001. I miss him.
So like my grandfather I’m a patriot of this great country. I don’t always agree with the direction she’s sometimes gone, but I support the ideals and freedoms she stands for. I love my country and this holiday is just a great way to remind myself of that.
I think all people should love whatever country they are citizens of. That doesn’t mean they should always be proud of what they do, but I believe a country is something to be proud of, something we should care for, something we can believe in. Even citizens of oppressed countries should be proud of their country, heritage, and where they come from. And hopefully they are proud enough to try and change things for the better in whatever manner they can. Even Americans. We certainly have enough to be embarrassed about as well as proud of.
I love my country. In fact, I love three countries.
I was born in Germany. My father was in the U.S. Army at the time. I was born with dual-citizenship. I returned and lived in Germany (mostly in the Rhein Valley) from ’94-’96. I sorely miss it and hopefully will get back to visit some day.
My mother was born and raised in Hiroshima, Japan. She moved to the States to attend college and eventually met my father. I lived in Japan from ’87-’88. I miss it there as well.
Be proud of who you are and Happy Independence Day! Love you, grandpa.
[Edit: After thinking about Deutschland, I started looking for mid 90s German bands and remembered “Die Prinzen” (The Princes) and found this video. 🙂 Basically a semi-patriotic, albeit humorous, song about living and dying in Germany.]
And how could I not link our national anthem.