Traveling outside of America has made me a better American! I spent a short time in Croatia and learned to love my liberty in a way that no classroom or textbook ever could. I have a friend who is Croatian and I affectionately call him a Cave Man. He has a gruff demeanor about him and protects his soft marshmallowy center. My time in Croatia taught me that there is a whole country out there (probably many more) of people who are fearful. I traced the bullet holes in the many buildings with my fingers and witnessed the efforts to restore their infrastructure. I saw the results left behind years later in a village that was ethnically cleansed. Communism has been over for them for years but they still live with the residual fear of someone knowing too much about you. My first trip to a modern grocery store was a real eye opener. My hosts were so proud of the choices they had. I smiled and agreed with their obvious excitement. The vast choices they happily showed me were not choices by American standards. The one brand of laundry soap now came in plain powder or liquid, no other scent or brand choices.
I have had my early days of being a starving college student and an impoverished young married. I never lived with the reduced liberties that these folks live with every day. To my Croatian friends and readers, no disrespect has been meant in this writing. I loved your country and the people and their spirit. Trust won too easily has no value and I will always value my days in your beautiful country.
This 4th of July we put out our flags (yes that’s plural) and invited family and friends. The Italian’s were cooking! My daughter made Arancini’s the way Nona made them, we BBQ’d ribs and steak, had corn on the cob and potato salad and of course apple pie and ice cream for dessert! A big thank you to the vets and service people who paid for my liberties.
God, please continue to Bless America!