My patriotism is something that has run strong within me since I was a child. I owe learning my patriotic songs by heart to my first grade teacher, Mrs. Copley. She was probably the most strict teacher I've ever had, but we learned a lot from her. And patriotism was one of them. Every morning we sang the national anthem, My Country 'Tis of Thee, This Land is Your Land,and a few others.
I have fond memories of going on base to the movie theater, and standing before every show with my hand over my heart, singing the national anthem. The same with going to the Richmond Brave games. Standing every day before the official school day started and saying the pledge of allegiance. I have always loved learning American History and more particularly about the individuals that made history for our country.
Fourth of July has always been such a fun day. Growing up, we had block parties, or we grilled out with the neighbors, went to the pool, and we would go to Meherrin to watch the fireworks at the old drive in theater, or the side of the road, wherever you could find a place! There were sparklers and late nights. Running around with the neighborhood friends relishing the fact that we were out late. Sticky, watermelon hands...and truthfully not much has changed. I grew up, but we did the same things on the fourth, though sometimes the scenery was different.
All of these great memories that instilled my patriotism, could have never prepared me for the immense pride I would have as an American living outside the United States. My heart is swollen with the love I have of a country that has given me so much and provided so many opportunities.
Today, I find myself a little homesick, wishing I was celebrating with my family and friends. Today, I find myself, hoping that one day, together, Sidnei and I will have the opportunity to return and live in the United States. Because no matter how well I adjust to living here in Brazil and no matter how much I love it here...I'll always long for a warm summer night on a wrap around porch, watching 24 hours of A Christmas Story wishing for a white Christmas, and 4th of July with the smell of the grill, sparklers, and sticky watermelon hands.