Guess where this pic was taken...Vietnam? Thailand? Bahamas? Philippines? Nope. It was taken in the U.S.A.!!
No, it's not April Fool's Day - it's July 4th, my home country's birthday! I chose this photo to represent how diverse the U.S. really is.
Some people always had a sense of patriotism growing up, but aside from falling in love with my country's natural landscapes, I had to get some perspective exploring overseas to truly
discover my own patriotism.
My country and its history are not perfect, especially when it comes to both Native American and foreign policy. However, I have come to love the innovative and pioneering spirit that I feel the U.S. embodies. Among other things, I am proud of the original art forms it has given the world - musical stylings such as the blues, jazz, and rock n' roll.
I am proud of the countless craft breweries in the United States - a tradition going back all the way to the founding fathers, and one that the rest of the world is largely unaware
I love our ethnic diversity. People from all over the world have come and helped weave the fabric of the United States - we are a melting pot of many vibrant cultures.
I was fortunate to grow up in the San Francisco Bay Area; there I had access to a multitude of different cultures. I'm sure this helped inspire me to branch out and discover the rest of the
We are a country of new beginnings. The U.S. was a hotbed for religious freedom and expression - where fascinating sub-groups such as Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the "Shakers" took root and grew from. Others such as the "Wild West" cowboys, hippies, beatniks, and the Appalachian "Hill People" further added to the the rich "cast of characters".
Lastly, I am awe-inspired by our geographic diversity. In the U.S. you can find marvels such as the Grand Canyon, giant Sequoia trees, arid deserts, lush temperate rainforests, beautiful beaches (such as the one pictured above in Key West, Florida), and even snowy peaks. Oh, I almost forgot the carved-granite masterpiece of Yosemite National Park!
I feel truly fortunate to have explored the country a bit before heading overseas. There is nothing like a road trip through the U.S. I met a German relief-worker in Manila who got very excited when I told him I was from the U.S. We don't always get a warm reception from Europeans, so this was a pleasant surprise. He was well aware of the beauty of the U.S., and had many friends here. He had taken an unforgettable cross-country trip with his family a few years prior.
This is certainly not to take away from the beauty and uniquity of other countries; anybody who knows me realizes how much I love and appreciate many other countries around the world...I just felt it was time to show my appreciation for the country that initially inspired me.
So yes, happy 238th birthday to these United States!!
May we not lose our founding values - that "all men are created equal", and that we will always always fight to preserve our "government of the people, by the people, for the people".
- Nathan Allen