This morning I was at the drive-thru window getting my a.m. pick-me-up (aka sweet tea). As I waited to move forward, I glanced in my rearview mirror and noticed the, um, lovely gentleman behind me applying his eyeshadow and mascara for the day. And recently while visiting one of those dark, neon-y stores, its walls throbbing with screamo music, in order to purchase a gift card for a funky teen I know who has beautiful blonde hair but prefers purple and fuschia instead, the salesclerk greeted me in full-length denim skirt over his combat boots. Both times, I was barely fazed…I DO live in a progressive college town, after all. But more than that, I was glad, thankful even, that I live in a country where we are each allowed to express our individuality, our true selves, in outward appearances as well as our choice of vocation, location, and admiration, to name a few.
This morning, the first Tuesday in November, I overheard someone complaining that they “hate Election Day, with all the signs up…blah, blah, blah.” And because we live in this great country, that person can say that without worry or fear of retaliation or violence. But it is precisely because of this Election Day that I am reminded of others who are not so lucky, not so free, to express their thoughts, their worries, their likes and dislikes. And I am ever so grateful to call the United States of America my home. With all of our problems and all of our issues, we are still the best place to live in the world.
As Veteran’s Day approaches later this week, I will express my gratitude even louder, even more passionately, to let everyone serving our country know, that I know they are what keeps our country free and makes it possible for full-length denim skirts and combat boots, fuschia hair, and all the other millions of expressions of self we are free to enjoy on a daily basis. They are what make it possible for me to sit here right now, speaking my thoughts, living my life, loving my country. And for all of that and more, I say Thank You!