I have always felt it such a privilege to live in America. My dad served in the Army during World War 2 and met my mom, a native of England, in London during this global conflict. Mom married my dad and moved to America shortly after the war. She quickly fell in love with Pennsylvania and the land of the free and the home of the brave. One of her proudest moments was becoming a naturalized citizen and claiming Old Glory as her national flag. My mom would often tell me that America was the greatest country in the world.
My parents and my early education helped instill in me a patriotic heart, filling my mind with bigger-than-life heroes like Davy Crockett, Lewis and Clark, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Marion, and Paul Revere. I was not a great history buff, but I remember feeling so proud to be an American while watching the Olympic Games on TV growing up.The President of the United States was always respected and honored in our home no matter which political party was in office.
I have been on a few missions trips out of the United States over the years and have grown in my appreciation of my country. The incredible freedoms we experience and limitless opportunities to serve as Americans is truly amazing. After spending just a couple of weeks in a third world country, I found myself so thankful to be back home. Some Americans have much to learn about priorities and what is truly valuable in life but there is no doubt of the abundant blessings in the US.
Having hiked the Appalachian Trail and seen parts of New England with exciting eyes while experiencing those spectacular views from mountain summits from Georgia to Maine, my love for the land deepened each day. Most of the people I met along the trail treated me with kindness and openness. Their welcoming spirit and the genuine appreciation for my thru-hiking adventure brought a sense of bonding with folks that would have been strangers otherwise.
Rocky (my beautiful wife) and I hope to do some hiking in the Pacific Northwest next year, thanks to the generosity of my friends at Dayton Christian School. As we visit several national parks and see parts of the United States new to both of us, I imagine that we will stand in awe of the Creator and His blessing upon this great country.
I know that there are many different opinions politically, morally, spiritually, and philosophically, but I hope that we can all agree to celebrate a country that allows such differences while attempting to protect the rights of each one of us. May God continue to bless America enabling us to enjoy the fireworks of freedom, the parades of peace, and our lives of liberty.