America the Great

I love America. Is she perfect? Far from it but I believe in her and will fight for her and the principles she was founded on for as long as I live.

Now, I know many people condemn her and think other places are better to live and in so many words, that America is the root of all evil. In response to that type of thinking, I simply wonder why those who feel that way don’t just go live somewhere else then… It’s one thing to fight that which one finds wrong with their country, and thank God we live somewhere where we have the freedom to do this, but it’s another thing to condemn the very country you live in and benefit from if you share no patriotism toward it.

But please, allow me to explain where my great love for America comes from, to demonstrate the freedom and opportunities this amazing country offers, despite its failures and flaws…

I come from an immigrant family and perhaps in so many ways, we all do, but I am a first generation American. Both of my parents were born in villages in Sicily, Italy. Different towns but they moved to America within a year of each other, coming over by boat with their parents and siblings. Their parents dreamed of freedom and providing a better life for their children. It wasn’t easy for them to come, but they worked towards it and were granted permission to enter America.

My father comes from a family of farmers of the small town of Montemaggiore. His parents moved his family to Buffalo, New York, in the mid-to-later part of the 1950s. Once in America, my grandfather worked on the railroad. My father grew up without a lot of money but his father taught him the basic principles of working for a living and asking no one for anything.

My mother comes from a Sicilian family of the coastal town, Ficarazzi. Her parents moved her family to Buffalo, New York, in the mid-to-later part of the 1950s. Her father fought in WWII for Mussolini and had been a prisoner of war in America, where he spent many, many hours peeling potatoes. To this day, he hates potatoes. But he saw a country where opportunity and freedom were present and after the war, he and his family sailed across the Atlantic to New York City and eventually Buffalo, NY, where he got a job as a produce delivery man.

My grandparents came to America in hopes of a life of freedom and opportunity, and that is what they received. They did not come for handouts, paid health care or the like but rather simply to have the opportunity to create wealth and a life they wanted.

My parents’ families moved within a few blocks from one another but it wasn’t until my parents were teenagers that they met at a church social. My mother’s sister asked my father to walk them home and being the complete gentleman that he is, my father happily did so. On that walk, he met my mother, whom he found honest and sincere. They started dating but my dad, a rather serious man who knows what he wants, was perhaps a bit much for my teenager mother and she broke up with him, breaking his heart in the process. But… she couldn’t stop thinking about him and a year later, she phoned him and asked him to come over. My father, after a quick shower, showed up at her door within the hour and they’ve been together ever since.

Married in their early twenties, my parents worked hard to provide for the life they knew they wanted to have. Both my parents worked until my mom gave birth to her first baby, my brother. My father continued to work all night, and then went to school all day. He asked no one for anything and didn’t want the government to provide for him. All he wanted was the opportunity to provide for himself. My parents worked hard to create the life they have and have taught their children, all three of us, to do the same. I was raised to see that hard work pays off and that America, albeit far from perfect, provided the freedom to do so.

If it wasn’t for America, I wouldn’t have the life I have today. My parents, business owners and self-made individuals, started from practically nothing and showed me the living truth behind the “unalienable rights” granted to us in the Declaration of Independence: “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” No one gave my family anything but possibility and the right to their freedom and PURSUIT of happiness in their own life.

I am reminded of this every time I see Americans fight for entitlements and every time I see politicians try to take away more of our freedoms. This is not the land of entitlements, government handouts or freeloading. This is the land of freedom and opportunity and the right to pursue happiness without hurting one another. I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen this in action, to see a business produced from the ground up, to see my parents mold their own way in this world without help from anyone but I’m saddened to see America getting a bad rap for not being a giver of entitlements. I am saddened to see America not being beloved for the freedom it stands for and its principles our founding fathers fought so hard for.

Is America perfect? Absolutely not. Perfection does not exist. But in my opinion, it’s the closest thing to it on earth and despite its flaws, it deserves to be recognized as such.

Why else do you think soooooo many others try to come and live here? If only those who’ve been granted the gift of being an American citizen would value it… otherwise, I say to them – leave, and allow more space for those who risk their lives to partake in what America offers and stands for.

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