Stay safe my friends
Today is Memorial Day and I feel like a lot of people forget what that means. I love bbqs and swimming just as much as the next red blooded American, but I found this video called “Project Vigil: D-Day 2014, The saluting boy on Omaha beach” and it had me in tears for the whole 7 and a half minutes. I definitely recommend checking it out.
During the Super Bowl yesterday, Coca Cola showed a commercial in which people from all across America sang “America the Beautiful” in their native languages.
America was in an uproar.
And at first I was furious with these people who so ignorantly berated Coca Cola for their commercial.
I am still unhappy with the response.
But in my anger I wondered, do you not remember where you come from?
Each one of us was an immigrant at one point. Unless you can trace your ancestry solely back to the Cherokees then you are an immigrant and you should be proud to hear that beautiful song sung by so many different people who call this country home.
America is known as the melting pot, not because we love soup, but because we are all different and came from different places that spoke different languages.
I couldn’t understand how people would not be swelling with pride after hearing that song.
But then I spoke to my mother.
My mom and I just had a discussion about the commercial and about her parents journey to America.
In her opinion, she thought that the people in the commercial should be speaking English. She believed that because America’s native tongue is English, that is what those people in the commercial should have been speaking. When her parents came to America they learned to speak English and they became citizens.
While I agree that to become a citizen one should learn to speak the native tongue of the country, I disagree about the particular commercial.
I enjoyed hearing America the Beautiful in other languages.
I enjoyed it because, while they are singing in their own native tongues, they are still singing it. They feel the pride that everyone should feel for their home, whether you were born here or not.
I am a proud American. I fly an American flag. But I was born into this country and did not need to work for my citizenship.
My grandparents on the other hand, worked very hard to become American.
My grandparents came to America not knowing any English. They came to raise their children in a better place, in a country that would give their children the opportunities that they, themselves, were not given in their home country.
They came to America, they learned English, they took their citizenship test, and they gained citizenship after working their asses off.
So I’ve decided to explain my stand.
I believe that America is the greatest country in the world because it is a melting pot of cultures from all around the world.
I believe that the mixing of these different cultures is what has made us so powerful, and allowed us to create things like football or Chinese food (the Chinese food sold in America is American by the way. People from China do not eat the same food we enjoy here.)
I believe that if you have worked hard to gain citizenship in this country you should be damn proud of yourself because it is not an easy feat.
I believe that if you were born here and granted citizenship you should never forget how important that is and how lucky you are.
I believe that speaking the native tongue of your country should be a priority, whether you are a citizen of Mexico, America, Canada or China.
I believe that adding your own culture to this giant mess of cultures is a beautiful part of being an American and that it is your duty, as an American, to share what you know, but to also be receptive to what is already established.
And I believe that this country has gone down the shitter because people forget that we are a brotherhood of individuals who have all come here for the freedom that was promised us, and for some strange reason, those freedoms are being taken away because people refuse to accept one another.
God Bless America because we damn well need it.
Know what’s scary? 12 years ago exactly, people all over Manhattan were doing exactly what I’m doing right now. They were getting into work, reading annoying emails, laughing with co-workers and getting ready for just another Tuesday. How were they supposed to know that their entire lives would come crashing down around them?
You are a liar if you say that, as an American, you were not out for blood when you found out. Hell I was 9 years old, and I wanted blood; NINE. That was the first time I ever thought about joining the military. A 9 year old wanting to kill people is a terrible, terrible thing. But I know I wasn’t the only one; every child in my catholic elementary school who was told by our principle to “pray for those people who are hurt” wanted blood. They didn’t tell us what was going on, but we knew, hell, kids always know. Plus, you could tell; teachers poured into the hallways, crying on each other’s shoulders. One by one, each student was plucked from class by a hysterical parent. I have never been more scared or confused in my entire life than I was on that day. What the hell is going on?! Why would someone want to hit a building? Eventually I found out.
My dad is a big guy, he’s tough, rugged almost, he doesn’t take people’s shit and he’s never afraid of anything. Or so I thought. The man was scared. He was terrified by what was happening. He had watched the second plane hit the building from the roof of his shop and he was scared. He hugged me, told me he loved me, and we left. My sisters were already with him. The four of us sped home, I was still afraid, but this time, because I thought he was going to crash. Talk radio yelled things; I didn’t understand what they were saying. My dad broke out into a sweat. We got home and were rushed inside. My mom hugged us. My dad locked the door behind us. She had been crying. I don’t like when my mom cries. I was even more worried. I still didn’t know the extent of what was happening. We changed out of our uniforms and were told to play in the basement. We were never allowed to play in the basement.
I heard my mom scream and I ran upstairs. She was crying again. Huge tears fell from her face as she hid it behind her hands. After a little we went outside. Our car was covered in dust. There were papers everywhere. I didn’t understand still but they told me. Finally they told me and I understood. Thousands of people were dead, thousands more were hurt. My dad had Muslim guys working for him; they were driving into Manhattan to do a job in those exact buildings. He called them. They were scared too. They couldn’t get out. They didn’t get back home until 8pm that night. It took them over 11 hours to get out of the city. Everything was shut down and fear was prevalent.
The world has changed since then, of course; but by how much?
A whole generation was built on anger and the desire for revenge. Where has that gotten us? A few more flags flying and a pure hatred for outsiders. I am definitively proud to be American; to have a history so rich and powerful. But that day changed a lot of people, and not all for the better. Some people became more aware, some more loving and supportive, some mourned the loss of a loved one and other mourned for the state of our nation.
But some were consumed by that anger and desire for revenge. They began to believe that the world is against us, and while that may or may not be true, the hatred that seeped out of these people became infectious. Islamic people are not the enemy. Foreigners are not the enemy. Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, they are not our enemies. They are our brothers, they are human beings and earth dwellers, they are just like us! The enemy are the extremists who see us as dirty, the ones who blow themselves up so they could take down a couple extra people, the ones who laugh while we mourn. THESE PEOPLE ARE THE ENEMY. Not a woman wearing a burka. How have people not realized this yet? It’s been 12 years, and all we have done is cry and kill people. Killing is never the answer, it just erases the question.