They were the ones that naturally ingrained a deep-rooted appreciation for the U.S. in me, which is annually rekindled as July's sizzle rolls around again. Because come Independence Day - along with apple pie, baseball, picnics, fireworks and all other quintessentially American hallmarks of tradition- my patriotic fervor reawakens.
Their accents alone discern Mama and Papa from their anthem-chanting, flag-toting neighbors. Both were daunted by squalor and Socialism in their motherlands, and they fled to the United States in search of prosperity. Now, as recently naturalized citizens (conveniently in time for the impending Presidential elections), they are captivated by the abounding American Dream.
Had it not been for them, maybe I would have neglected to realize the splendor of this country. Maybe each sweltering Fourth of July would not have evoked such emotion for me. Maybe I would have suppressed the very notions that define me as an American, as the very first in my family to be born and bred in the U.S.
Tomorrow commemorates 236 years of the enduring American spirit of liberty. Fireworks will alight the sky- and my head and heart and soul.