So today was the big day that my parents, Chris, and I went to Sedona and the Grand Canyon on a long 14-hour day tour trip. We traveled in a group of ten to see the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Like I’ve been told, it’s an astounding sight to see, even if you are well traveled and have seen lots of beauty, natural and man-made. At our first stop along the canyon, as I got close to the edge and observed the layers of colored rock, got a vertigo feeling when looking all the way down, and heard everyone else “wowing” at the depth, for the first time in my life I actually felt proud to be an American.

I’ve never been patriotic; in fact, I’ve spent most of my life being embarrassed by being American given how poorly our K-12 system does against other nations, how map-stupid we are, and how little we know about the world compared to how much the rest of the world knows about us and other nations. I get angry about how we make a big stink over pro-choice vs. pro-life and make it about morals, when the rest of the world shakes their head and thinks, what the hell is that about – It’s a medical procedure! I want to crawl into a hole when my crazy aunt and uncle get all NRA on me and compare the danger of guns to the dangers of pencils – if you ban guns, why not ban pencils, too?

So, it’s a big step for me to actually admit out loud that I was so stunned by the sight of the Grand Canyon and reveled in the fact that yes, it’s in the United States; yes, I was born here; and yes, I’m actually proud and happy for once to call myself American and be a part of this incredible country. I’ve admitted it.

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