When I think about America I think about dreams. Dreams that could never be fulfilled for people in other countries. Maybe those unfortunate people don't even have those dreams. I don't know. All I really know is that I see myself as a kid that's come from the poverty level to the unthinkable position of an office full of professionals with clients worldwide. Just by dreaming.
OK, maybe it wasn't just by dreaming, but I did dream it in 1999 as a frustrated young guy coming home from one too many days in the rain at his low-paying manual labor job. A little education--and some really hard work to go along with it--some resume writing, a lot of thought, a lot of prayer, and what, by much of earth's standards, is impossible, became possible.
I know, I know that you could tell me that folks do that kind of thing in a lot of countries now. You're right. You can do that in a lot of countries now. Now that in relatively recent history, America has become a global presence. We can't take nearly all the credit for it, but I would ask you to think a second time before you criticize the "westernization of world culture."
On days when my story isn't enough to make me feel thankful, and when the things of my amazing everyday life isn't enough to make me want to sing the national anthem, salute the flag, or pray for my country, I just begin to think of the stories of others.
I can think of my brother. He came from the same background, or even worse, but he was free to dream of a day when he would receive his Ph.D. and shape the field of composition in the world of education.
My cousin, at 23 years old, started from nothing and made the decision on her own to become a nurse. She received her transfer degree last month receiving honors and speaking to thousands as a representative of her classmates.
My boss wanted to be a TV repaiman, and when his dad convinced him to attend Oregon State University and learn about engineering, he saw students in the Civil Engineering program and was hooked. He puts together mindblowing designs for customers all over the globe now.
Some countries crush dreams; America expands them. I'm working on becoming more and more thankful for this freedom to dream every day. On this its 231st birthday, I want to say, "God bless the United States of America."