Why are we ashamed to be Americans?
Most of my great-grandparents were immigrants. Some came from Ireland, others from the Azore Islands. I have German, Irish, French, Dutch, and Portuguese blood in me. My grandmother came from Canada. Her parents were German refugees living in Russia and fleeing persecution during World War I. My great-great-great-grandmother on my mother’s side was a Southern belle living in Richmond during the Civil War. She married a Yankee soldier (they lived in peace, apparently, although they argued a lot over whether Lee or Grant was the better general!). My great-great grandfather was an attorney working for President Franklin Roosevelt and battling for Irish rights. On my father’s side, my Portuguese ancestors risked everything and left the St. George and Terceira islands of the Azores to come to California. They worked hard, cowboying and working on dairy ranches to provide for their families. Up until recently, my great-grandfather’s ranch in the Central Valley of California was still in our family. His old white barn and the beautiful ranch house where my grandfather was born still stand today.
Every path to America is different. To some, it is a place of refuge. To others, it is a promised land. Some come to America for safety. Others come to find a better life for those they love. Every single story is different. What are the stories in your family?

A study called the Bradley Project recently discovered something very saddening about our nation. Rather than focusing on the good in our nation, many public schools cast a decidedly distasteful light on America. Here’s what the Project had to say:

“…schools should not slight their civic mission by giving students the impression that America’s failures are more noteworthy than America’s achievements. They should begin with the study of America’s great ideas, heroes, and achievements, so that its struggles can be put in perspective. A broad-minded, balanced approach to the American story best prepares young people for informed democratic participation.”

~The Bradley Project

That’s what inspired me to begin this journal. I have learned about and met many brave, heroic, self-sacrificial Americans who make this nation a beautiful place to live. I feel blessed to live here and to learn from their legacy, and I feel that no life lived generously and well should be forgotten or dismissed. This journal is a study in what makes America beautiful.I don’t believe we need to be ashamed of America. No nation…no nation…is perfect, and so as well the USA is flawed. The pages of American history books are marred by sinners and scandals, just as every history book is because human nature does not change. But America’s pages have also been touched by the hand of a gracious God, as proven by countless men and women in this great land. And each life that helped to make this country a place of freedom and refuge deserves to be remembered.

That is the purpose of this project. I hope you will be inspired to love America a little bit more, even as you learn from its mistakes. After all, America is not great because of its ideals or its principles or its rulings.

America is great because of its people.


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