I remember as a child feeling choked up as the flag would pass in a parade, or singing the Star Spangled Banner. I am not sure how my love for this land came about, I don't really remember any special lessons on patriotism in our home. Maybe it was just that my parents knew this land was set apart for a great purpose. And that underlying principle was taught in how they spoke and the respect they showed to law enforcement and military. My father is a naturalized citizen from South Africa. He can tell you first hand how different this country is from his homeland. He grew up thinking he could aspire to be what his father was: a worker on the mine. When he immigrated to Canada and then was able to attend BYU he began to feel for the first time he could be whatever it was he wanted if he worked hard enough. He had no money; someone helped him get to BYU. He worked as a janitor at BYU for years and in the summer he worked in Canada. Just before he graduated he met my mom and they were married just after graduation. He became a citizen a few years later. I remember how happy he felt then. I did not get to go since it was during school and a couple hours away where he was sworn in. But I went to my brother-in-law, Juan's, ceremony. It was very moving.
I know we are not perfect, I especially feel we take for granted what we have. But I know that a lot of good has come from this country to help others throughout the world be free or have a better chance at it.
We must be worthy of this freedom and we must teach our children what it means to be free. It means we are responsible, we work hard, we help others in need and we follow basic principles of goodness taught from the Bible, from God. Yes we have freedom of religion but that does not mean freedom from religion. What do I mean? I mean that our nation is based on the premise that we will be faithful to God whatever way we worship Him. Because He is the protector of our freedom. He is the reason we live and breathe. When we take His eternal truths out of our lives we invite chaos, anarchy and hedonism. He is the way the truth and the life, and when we give our lives to live as He would have us we really are free! So God Bless America, my home sweet home.
This is a photo I took shortly after 9/11. My daughter Emily is four in the photo. I love this photo because it depicts the hope I have for her future and our country. I found this photo the other day when I was looking for some other photos. That was a difficult time, a different time in history. As we face sobering times now we must remember we can do this--TOGETHER. Especially if one of us is God.