Ameerrrriicca.. Ameeerrrriiicccaa.. God shed his grace on thee

Love your country.  Your country is the land where your parents sleep, where is spoken that language in which the chosen of your heart, blushing, whispered the first word of love; it is the home that God has given you that by striving to perfect yourselves therein you may prepare to ascend to him.  ~Giuseppe Mazzini

When I taught English at Hanyang University in Korea one of my favorite assignments was focused on home and country.  I would start the class by asking, “How would you feel if you were told you would not ever be able to come back to your country, to the land of your birth?” I was always a little surprised at the student’s reactions.  Several even indicated that it would not bother them at all.  Those sentiments surprised me a little. I love my international travel for sure and I have chosen jobs that require me to work mostly overseas, but my home and my heart will always be in the United States.

When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea.  He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect.  ~Adlai Stevenson

No matter how far and wide I travel, my base, my essential roots will always be in the good ‘ol U.S. of A.  I know the United States has its faults and we as a people have our disagreements but this land is the land that I love.  We have freedoms and responsibilities that do not exist in other parts of the world.  We have the potential to do just about anything we want.  Other’s strive to go to the U.S. simply to start a new life and our country was built on the people from every part of the world who succeeded.

I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.  I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.  ~Abraham Lincoln

My personal philosophy is that one should know as much as possible about their own country either before or after they start touring the world.  I’ve taken that to heart and through chance and circumstance I have been fortunate enough to have been able to travel to or at least through approximately 42 of our beautiful states and 3 of the 5 U.S. territories.  I have lived in Washington State, Washington D.C. Virginia, Indiana and California over the years and loved each state in very different ways.

I have driven around the United States completely one time (from California to Washington to New York to Florida and back to California, it took me 3 weeks and I had my own children and a neighbor’s child with me) and I have made 2 other trips nearly around the U.S.  I have driven from Washington State to New York and back approximately 5 times in my life; from Virginia to Washington and back about 3 times.  I have travelled Route 66 and through the Black Hills in the Dakotas, the Redwood Forest, the Pacific Coast Highway and Glacier National Park. I have travelled across country several times over the past 20 years on Amtrak’s California Zephyr, The Capital Corridor and The Empire Builder.

My favorite thing about the United States?  Lots of Americans, one America.  ~Val Saintsbury

All I am saying is that from these national trips I have grown to love and understand the U.S. and it’s people on a much deeper level.  I have learned acceptance of others ideas and ways of living and a humbleness that comes from being presented with such a grand vista of people and their places each so different from the other.  America the Beautiful – from the mountains to the prairies, from shore to shining shore, this land is my land this land is your land indeed.

My next several blogs will be focused on a photo journal of my most recent coast to coast trip.  I hope you enjoy.

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