Happy Fourth, friends!

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As our nation celebrates it’s 238th year of independence, I just wanted to celebrate some of my favorite things about this country I call home. Part of this is also due to the fact that I’m being threatened into exile because of my support of the German soccer team in the FIFA World Cup {sorry, I’m not a home team kind of girl…remember that I’m a Vikings fan from Wisconsin). So putting sports aside, here are some of my favorite things about the good old U S of A.

1. We’re all different…

When you think of an American, does just person come to mind? We’re a melting pot with people with all different backgrounds, traditions, and stories, and that’s pretty cool. During my time as Miss America’s Outstanding Teen I got to travel all over the nation, and it was incredible to see all the different customs that vary from state to state and even city to city!

2. ..and yet we’re alike in a lot of ways.

Namely, our love for fast foods, football, and freedom. At least according to our neighbors across the pond. Also, how incredible is this picture? Thanks, Internet.

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3. We’re entrepreneurial.

There’s nothing I love more than creativity and the drive to make it reality. From airplanes and automobiles to iPhones and deep-fried Twinkies, we Americans are always coming up with ways to make live bigger and better.

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4. We’re kind of odd…

We kind of rule the Internet in terms of strange things. Case in point: this gif. (Get it? He’s not bald anymore…)

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5. And kind of AWESOME.

Yes, this is Teddy Roosevelt fording a river on mooseback. What did you do today?

291158_v1See more awesome things Americans have done here.

6. We’re still the land of the “American Dream”.

Since the beginning, we’ve always been a nation that the world has looked to as a place where anything is possible. I remember my mom telling me that growing up in Trinidad all she wanted to do was come to America where she could do anything and be anything. Although it’s a little rosy-eyed, I still have seen enough people build themselves from nothing to believe that our country’s got a thing for the underdogs.

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7. We have freedoms that people in other countries only dream about…

Think about it. I have a blog where I can say whatever I want about who I am and what I believe. I can get a job regardless of whether or not I come from the highest social class or the color of my skin or gender. I can go to church where I want, marry who I want, be who I want to be without fear of being persecuted by the government. It’s taken a long time to get to this point, but celebrating those freedoms is a huge privilege.

8. …but we’re not without our flaws.

It’s heartbreaking to watch the news every day and hear about another act of violence or crime. It’s easy to complain about the economy and healthcare, and say that this nation will never get things figured out. But instead of looking at these difficulties as the end all be all, I believe there are still people that are willing to see the opportunity within them. We’re a nation that has come through a lot, and I believe that optimism will keep us going and enable us to address the problems we currently face.

9. We know how to make fun of ourselves during the good times…

This is when I make the sports jokes.

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10. And support each other during the bad.

I’ll never forget being in second grade and watching the attacks on the Twin Towers in 2001. As devastated and terrified as I was at that young age, I took comfort in watching how people who were once divided by different ideas and beliefs lay them to the side and stand together in their suffering.

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Regardless of what makes you proud to be an American, take some time today to love your country and to appreciate those who have given it all to make it possible for you to call this place home. A huge thank you to the brave men and women serving everywhere to protect our nation.

Have a happy and blessed Independence Day!

xoxo,

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