I’ve always considered myself to be patriotic. I love flag etiquette, singing the national anthem and other patriotic songs, and studying about how we became this great nation. However, it wasn’t until this weekend that I realized those feelings are actually thanks to my family.
I come from a family with a lot of military representation. I grew up seeing pictures of my grandpa who served in World War II, hearing stories of my uncles who served during Vietnam, and having my aunt explain a salute. Most of all, however, was my dad. He never served in the armed forces but every patriotic holiday, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Veterans Day… each one my dad would be up early to hang our flag outside. If it rained, my dad was the first to remember the flag needed to come in. Often we were the rare house in our neighborhood that flew a flag, especially in recent years, but that just made the action more special.
I learned this weekend that my dad’s dad also frequently flew the American flag. See, my grandpa not only served in WWII, he was also an immigrant. As a boy my grandpa’s parents moved to America from Italy. Though I never had the privilege of meeting my grandpa, from the stories I hear, he felt that America was his new home, a place to start a new life. So he honored this country, and those who protect it.
Which brings us to today, a day to remember. No matter your political views, your heritage, or your thoughts on how our government should be run, America is still our home. It was bought for us with the lives of children and spouses and sweethearts. And so, I would like to say thank you. Thank you to the men and women and loved ones who give so much. And thank you to my family who has taught me to be grateful for that which I did not earn.