The Journey: Being American and having the right to be who you are

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By Samantha Brazie, Special to The Paper

Okay 2020, we see you. WE SEE YOU. Enough is enough, right?

July is typically a month that is full of barbecues, pool parties and good times with friends. This year, fear is stopping a lot of the festivities we may have taken for granted over the years. This year has really challenged my beliefs about what our country is … how we can be mandated to do things that appear to take away certain freedom … about what people should and should not be able to get away with. However, as I sit here thinking about Independence Day, I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. Gratefulness that we live in the United States of America.

About a year or so ago, one of my children started really slandering the military and I got EXTREMELY upset. I mean, so mad that most people that know me would be shocked. How dare her?!?! How dare she know what her family has done all these years to defend the country that gives her the right to slam our military. After I calmed down, I remembered – countless Americans have died defending the right for her to feel the way she does. She saw injustices that I just didn’t see and have not had to deal with in my life. It is not my place to tell you about her Journey so I am not going to do that, but I felt bringing this up was a relevant piece of July’s column.

I grew up a Navy brat, married an Army veteran, now have a son-in-law that is active duty in the US Army and a son that is a proud United States Marine with family members and friends currently in the Air Force…to say I am a patriot that 100% supports our military is an understatement and I can tell you now in writing, that will never, ever change. As much as I have questioned the motivations through the years about people that have burned our flag, kneeled during the national anthem and caused serious damage to small businesses that have really hurt their local community, this is the United States of America. I believe we are the greatest nation in the world and while I do not support people hurting other people, change does not come without being uncomfortable. Unfortunately, change does not usually come without hurting. Also, change does not come without really digging deep.

I am a white woman that grew up fairly poor in a physically and mentally abusive home. My upbringing  was far from ideal but there are many people that have had it much worse. There are things in my life I don’t have to question, things my family and I don’t have to worry about today due to many reasons and choices along the way, but there are also many areas that I do. Instead of criticizing moves others make and decisions that are not made out of hate, I choose to assume the best intentions. I choose to believe that everyone has an intentional Journey that includes a piece of the puzzle in this thing we call life. Do your best, be authentic and don’t hurt others on purpose. If everyone focuses on doing their part, we will achieve things we could never, ever imagine.

At the end of the day, I hope you are with me when I say being American is all about having the right to be who you are. Live your Journey the way it was meant to be and our future generations will benefit from our choices, whether it seems that way right now…or not. Stay safe….and sane, friends!

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