I always have. As a kid, I was infused with patriotic pride in our country. I learned about the founding of our country. I believed the inspired words that make America the shining light to the world, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” As a little boy, I remember how incredible I thought it was to be alive in the year 1976—the bicentennial. The entire country seemed to be awash in red, white, and blue.
My ancestors fought for our freedoms in the Revolutionary War. My ancestors fought in the Civil War to ensure those lofty words in the Declaration of Independence were more than just words and that freedoms would be extended to all.
It took further Amendments and Acts before all rights and freedoms behind “those words” were finally realized for every American. My uncles fought in WWII to preserve those freedoms and save the world from tyranny. The American experiment has been far from perfect, but it has been an ideal that millions have literally risked life and limb to be a part of. Perhaps until now when they see our own trying to burn our country to the ground. Our founders were not perfect. None of us are perfect. But America was founded on liberty, unalienable rights, and more opportunity for every man, woman, and child than any other nation on earth. I am proud of what our country was founded on, has overcome, and what it stands for today.
My ancestors came from other countries hoping for a better life. It didn’t happen immediately. For some, it didn’t happen at all. Some of my ancestors were driven from their homes by mobs. This, because of their religion. They eventually found a home in Utah where I was born.
My ancestors worked. They built. They planted. They harvested. They WORKED. They were given nothing that they didn’t earn. Life in America was not easy. They never complained. THEY WORKED. They knew if they worked hard enough they could succeed.
I got my first “job” at 10 years old cleaning up a metal works shop. I also picked cherries, tomatoes, pulled weeds, and hung sheetrock before I was 16 and could get “real” jobs like washing dishes and bussing tables. For some, work is a terrible four-letter word. For others, like my family, it is a great American opportunity. I would not be who I am without the privilege of pulling weeds and picking cherries when I was a kid. I would not have been able to work full-time and go to college full-time if I had not been given the privilege of hard work.
My grandfather worked in the mines in Tintic, Utah. I can’t imagine how hard he worked. My father worked as a mechanic at the Geneva Steel Mill in Vineyard, Utah. After the plant closed down he worked in a laundry and enjoyed only a few years of retirement before passing away from cancer caused by his service in the Navy. He was born during the Great Depression and was a boy when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. He raised kids as Vietnam and race riots were raging across the country and nuclear war was an imminent threat on any given day. I love his example of a lifetime of hard work. He served in the Navy during the Korean War, was in the Navy reserves his entire life, and was called up to serve in Desert Storm. He never made a lot of money, never lived in a fancy house, never drove a fancy car and he never complained. My dad loved the opportunities this country gave him and loved being able to serve America. My dad had an incredible love of the American flag. He flew it every opportunity he had.
It breaks my heart that just one generation since I grew up, in wide-eyed patriotic wonder, that kids now either openly hate America or are ambivalent towards the incredible country, liberties, rights, and opportunities we have inherited from those who went before us. I have failed in setting an example and educating. Our schools have failed. Many young people can’t even tell you when America was founded, let alone why it was founded, from whom we declared independence, and what unbelievable liberties they enjoy because of those who went before us.
As millions are intent to destroy, it is time for patriots to stand up. If you believe in our country, our laws, our liberties, our freedoms, our pursuit of happiness don’t keep it a secret. In honor of my dad, in honor of the greatest country in the world, as a reminder to everyone who sees it, I will fly my flag not just on Independence Day, but EVERY DAY possible. I hope you will join me.
I love America.