Celebrating Independence Day seems more important to me as I grow older. Yes, I get to play with the fireworks myself now instead of hiding a few yards away. Yes, I get to help cook barbecue and pour out lemonade. But those aren’t the real reasons why the Fourth of July is meaningful for me. I think it is because I have visited so many countries and have been welcomed into so many cultures vastly dissimilar from my own. I witnessed myself the differences in how a people can view their government.
Two years ago today, I stood in front of a class of fifth grade students in Rajasthan, India explaining why I celebrated the Fourth of July. We trades stories. They sang me their national anthem and I sang them mine. The priests I stayed with bought fireworks for me so that I would feel more at home. It was one of the most incredible Independence Days I have ever celebrated and I was over 8,000 miles away from home.
One thing I do know for sure is that each time I am outside of the US, I am always happy to return to America. The place where, even though I may disagree with the government on significant issues and maybe I didn’t vote for the guy who won, I call home. I can disagree loudly and annoyingly without fearing for my life. For that, I am blessed. For that, I am proud to be an American.