Tag: 4th of july

America is My Favorite

5bad11d0-2199-11e5-8352-a54ee272a10cThe other day my niece asked me ‘what is your favorite country?’ Without missing a beat I said “America is my favorite”.  She seemed surprised as if most people said Japan, England or some other country.  To me the answer was obvious.  Other countries are great and have wonderful aspects to them but America will always be my favorite.

There are a lot of reasons I love my country but most importantly is it is a country of dreamers, doers and individual rights.

We are guaranteed rights to speak our minds, worship freely, protect ourselves, and gather together for whatever purpose we see fit.  We cannot be searched unlawfully or treated without due process.  We are not subject to kings, rulers or one groups whims or philosophies.   I understand reality can be less than perfect in enforcing these rights but most countries, even highly developed nations, don’t even have the rights spelled out to begin with.

The fact is in America if you have a desire to achieve something you can go out and do it.  Will you be successful?  Maybe or maybe not but as long as it is a lawful enterprise you are free to give it a go. In a communist nation you may not have such an opportunity to pursue your dream. Many other countries try to shelter people from failure and therefore limit their eventual success (we are becoming more that way every day which worries me).

We also have a system where we attempt to educate every single person free of charge (aside from taxes). We fall way short on giving an adequate education but at least we try.  Still many students from around the world come to America to get their education.  It is unparalleled in its colleges and universities which by law no matter race, background or sexual orientation anyone that qualifies academically can enter.

America has a system of checks and balances that help to keep despots and tyrants at bay.  We have federalism that gives local and central voices power.  We can each vote for all our leaders and for the most part we can all run for office without any prerequisites of education or profession.  All of these things are not available in every nation.

Plus, America stretches across an entire continent something only China, Russia, Canada, and Australia can claim.  We have everything from the Rocky Mountains to the beaches of Hawaii.  We are the head of computer based innovation, have a legacy in manufacturing that needs to be reborn and we lead the way in movie-making, art, music and other creative expressions.

I’ve lived on the East, West coasts and in Midwest and traveled throughout America.  Wherever I go I have been blown away by the good people we have all around our country.  Sure we have problems but there still is much to be positive and optimistic about. Whenever I travel I can’t wait to get back home, get back to America!

At the very least we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the brave men and women who have fought and sometimes paid the ultimate price so we could have all of these freedoms.  America should be our favorite for that sacrifice alone IMO.

Happy 4th of July friends!  God bless America!

To read my talk on patriotism I gave years ago check out this post

Stadium of Fire 2014

stadium of fire

Have I mentioned it recently how much I love living in Utah? One of the greatest parts is all the wonderful entertainment that is accessible, affordable and family friendly.  I have long thought of doing a blog called Utah52 and talk about a different cultural event every weekend of the year in Utah.  Unfortunately I would need a group to help me with such a project as I have things going on some weekends.

Nevertheless, you could easily go to a great quality event every weekend.  In December you could go to something every day.

People that are long-timers in Utah don’t understand how unique it is.  My parents live in Sacramento and thy have a professional musical theater called Music Circus and a youth theater and that is basically it.  I wanted to see Christmas Carol there and nothing.  In Utah you can see Christmas Carol like 100 different places.

Dance is heavily supported.  Ballet West is one of the best companies in the country.  Same with Utah Symphony.  There’s the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and every town has their own little playhouse.  Where I live in Draper has the amphitheater and Draper Historic Theater.

It’s just a great place to live!

The universities here make everything special also.  The choirs, dance troops, productions are second to none.

In this vein, every year BYU and the City of Provo puts on a huge production called Stadium of Fire.  They usually get a popular recording act- often country and then surround them with the longest fireworks display in the country and much more.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to attend for a long time because of family stuff but this year I was so I snatched up tickets.  Carrie Underwood was the singer and I particularly wanted to see her because in 2005 I was supposed to see her but the traffic into USANA Ampitheater made us an hour late and we missed both opening acts to Kenny Chesney 😦  (That is why I hate USANA)

So I got tickets and pretty good one’s too.  I went with my new friend Adam and we had a great time.  Carrie was awesome and did all my favorite songs.  One especially cool moment was when she went from Jesus Take the Wheel to How Great Thou Art.  It was great.

(I wasn’t as close as this guy but I still enjoyed it)

There was also a field worth of dancers, a super hero trampoline troop that was amazing.  If these 2 routines don’t make you smile than I worry for you… 😉

The fireworks were then pretty awesome.  I made this video of the night using a new app called majisto.  It turned out pretty well.

War veteran and land mine survivor JR Martinez was the emcee of the night and hearing his story and the Utah Army Band play made me ponder about the freedoms I enjoy.  Too often these days we are talking more about rights than freedoms. Rights are important but we also need to step back and be grateful for the many freedoms we do have that others do not.  The push for more rights can make us forget what tremendous blessings we have.

Let’s just say there is a reason so many including children are desperate to come here and we forget that or at least I do. Sometimes it is helpful to have all the pomp and circumstance of a stadium of fire to remember how great it really is.

I loved it and am grateful for all the volunteer work which goes into such a production.  Thanks to all!

God bless America!

stadium of fire2