The 4th of July, like any national holiday, had been something of little significance in my household growing up. Which struck me as odd considering my father served as a soldier in the army. As I got older I understood why my parents had a love-hate relationship with the U.S.
As minorities both my mother and my father have experienced horrific displays of racism. Racially profiled, experience in “separate–but-equal” schools and general denial of services have made America’s race issue quite tangible for my father. My mother has also faced the racist monster from both blacks and whites, and now, in the blooming culture of Miami, hispanics.
Native Americans were killed off, Blacks were enslaved, Asians used and when doubted put into holding camps, and Hispanics, Jews, Italians, Irish and people from the Middle East have all endured the ugliness of America. But there is beauty, isn’t there?
In Miami alone we are blessed with seeing the beauty of Jewish families walking to Temple on Saturdays. Our friends discuss what they give up for Lint and Ramadan. Calle Ocho and Carnival bring us color and culture from the Caribbean. We are lucky, luckier than we realize for the diversity of our great nation. We have had some troubled times. Our history is full of blood and hate. But there is also love, the everlasting hunger for freedom, justice and equality. That is what makes America. And although we’ve endured near hell, we’re a family and those wounds are tended to with love. No, we are not perfect. We eat junk, stress out, and too often lose track of what’s important. But we also forgive, fight, and forge.
I like to think that we are in this together. Farmers and soldiers, artists and scientists. All sexes, races, religions. And we all came here – one way or another- for a purpose. Nobody’s born perfect, not even a country. We’re still young and have a lifetime ahead of us. Where we are now is not the promised land, but we came together, we taught each other right from wrong and we are learning, everyday we are learning to be better for ourselves and each other.
Happy Birthday America !!!!!