Veterans Make America Great

The older I get, and the more I travel- the more I love America. One of the things that makes America great is our celebration of patriotism and the love we have for those who served in our armed forces.

Our country is not perfect. Yes, we have our problems and issues, but we have more unparalleled freedoms than any other nation on the planet. We may disagree on many things, but we can all agree America is the greatest country in the world.

America is not based on ethnicity but on an unprecedented idea of liberty and self-government. Independence Day reminds us patriotism means that despite our differences, we can all look at something more significant, an ideal that transcends us as individuals, but unifies us as Americans. A unifying spirit of patriotism and strong defense is vital for the United States to continue to exist.

Tomorrow we celebrate what is good, heroic and true in our great nation- our veterans. We understand that to love our country is something noble and to remember our veterans is something honorable.

Veterans are the ultimate patriots. Their service allows our nation to exist. Veterans do the dirty work of a great nation- they fight our wars and help others in times of crisis. In a time when patriotism is almost obsolete, veterans are a reminder of America’s best version of herself.

On this upcoming Veteran’s Day, I wanted to thank all the amazing Americans who defend this great nation. I am very grateful for every generation of brave Americans who fought for our country. From the militiamen in the Revolutionary War who won our independence to the brave soldiers in this generation who fought against oppression overseas.

I am the grandson of immigrants. My dad’s family came from Italy, and my mom’s family came from Austria. My parents were from working-class neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. My parents raised me to love America.

My father fought in two wars. He never talked much about his service, but he did tell me stories of soldiers suffering, sacrificing and dying for America. My dad never let me forget that freedom is not free.

Last 4th of July I had a life-changing moment. I was on a ferry boat in beautiful Frankenmuth, Michigan. While on the boat, I saw a Marine on shore salute our boat as we passed. The Marine was in full dress uniform, blue pants with red stripe, starched black jacket, full medals with a white hat, white gloves holding a salute as our ferry passed. The Marine sentry was silent. The gallant Marine held his salute to the world.

Someone yelled, “Thank you, Marine, for defending our freedom!” That Marine sentry standing guard was a life-changing moment filled with emotion.

The sight of that stoic Marine sweating in the hot sun in his full dress uniform, saluting us, on that joyous day gave the moment a poignant context. That Marine represented every veteran who sacrificed for our freedom. His service allows us to celebrate Veteran’s Day in the greatest country in the world. It was then I realized how much I loved my country, and felt shame for ever taking her for granted.

There is an Italian proverb that says, “If a man does not boast about his house, it will fall on him.” I love writing about what makes our country great. What really makes this country is the people who love and defend it- our veterans.

two veterans embracing

Thank you, to all veterans, you make America great. Happy Veteran’s Day.