Today is the Fourth of July, the anniversary of when our ancestors declared their independence from Great Britain. According to my calculations, we’ve been our own country for 88,388 days or more plainly put, 242 years.
My ancestral origins
My mother’s side of the family has been here since the beginning. Knowing them like I think I do, they were probably kicked out of England and put on a leaky wooden ship because they were weird and/or practiced a strange version of Christianity.
My father’s side of the family hasn’t been here as long. I know my father’s grandfather came here from Germany in the early 1900s. He left Germany with the last name of Oldenkamp, but when he later got married in Nebraska, he did so with the last name of Rottman, the surname of his mother’s second husband back in Germany. So I’m not even a real Rottman.
So I’ve been told. Who knows if any of that is true. What I do know is I don’t care.
I am an American
I don’t really care about where my ancestors came from. I hold no allegiance to whatever moldy part of Europe they came from. If they liked Europe so much, they would have stayed there. No, I come from people who wanted to leave Europe and come here to America. They did so knowing full well they’d never go back or even see the people they left behind.
My race is Human and my nationality is American. That’s as basic as I can break it down. That’s as basic as I care to break it down.
The Philippines taught me what being an American is
The period from 1985 to 1988 was very instrumental in forming who I am. I was in the Air Force and stationed overseas in the Philippines. There were two types of people over there: Filipinos and Americans. I learned then you were either an American or you weren’t. It didn’t matter what color your skin was or where you’re ancestors came from, if you were an American, you were my brother. Any differences you and I had didn’t matter. If you were an American, you were just like me, a stranger in a strange land.
Even today I feel the same exact way. There’s no need to hyphenate your nationality. If you’re an American, your an American. The word before the hyphen is meaningless.
You should feel proud to be an American
People should feel proud to be an American. It doesn’t matter who we currently have for president or what they’re doing in the White House. Most of the presidents in my lifetime have been awful. The current president is a dolt, but I can guarantee you he isn’t the first and he will not be the last.
You should feel proud to be an American because of your fellow Americans. We come in all kinds of colors and sizes. We bring parts of our culture with us. We collectively then decide what we like and what we don’t like. We keep the best and throw away the rest. We are Americans. We love pizza, tacos, sushi, salsa, and spaghetti.
Whenever someone accuses one of us of cultural appropriation, I just laugh. Cultural appropriation is what we do, we’re Americans. Now blindfold me so I can beat this red, white, and blue piñata and make it rain candy.
Happy Fourth of July
If you’re reading this and you’re an American, I hope you have a happy Fourth of July. If you’re reading this and you’re not an American, I hope one day you can become an American.
To say someone is an American is the nicest thing you can say about someone.