Thankful for coming from/living in a country that believes in thefreedom of speech

Every few months it seems I get myself into a situation where I don't agree with other Americans and in the end they only come up with the comment that I am anti-American. It wasn't even about Americans, it was about the US Government. This is very hurtful and then I feel like I have to justify why my views are different. But we all come from a nation that says that I have a right to my own opinion, the First Amendment. Just because we disagree does not mean I'm not a proud American. I actually think my situation is a plus because I am able to  see the other side of the coin.

Do you have to love everything that your country does or stands for, in order to be a proud American? I don't think so.

I was going to go on about all the reasons why I have different views such as coming from a liberal state (Colorado); living in/on the local community; the degrees I have influencing my thoughts; having no access to the bases and no longer working with or for Americans or the government; the variety of people I encounter that help shape my views; the talks I attend and groups I belong to about the issues that I am interested in like social equality, global warming, welfare, history, tax abuse by governments and businesses, our effect on other countries, the issues going on around the world; and the list goes on. 

Then I thought why do I have to justify my stance? I served 10 years protecting the First Amendment-Freedom  of Speech. I was that 1% who 'stepped up.' I think America is great because we are willing to fight for other countries to enjoy the freedoms that we have and loads of other reasons irrelevant to this post. I do not like the impact we have when we are dealing with other countries when we throw our weight around and the relationship, militarily or trade wise, are not equal. There is not one country that has it 'right' but I think we can learn a lot from the way other people live and be the best example for all nations. However, we all have to admit we have our own problems.

I have that kind of relationship with my love of the US as you do with your siblings. You know how you can pick on your brother, but if anyone else does, its not okay. When it comes to other Americans I feel like I should be able to criticize my country because it should be assumed that I love it. However if anyone not from my country starts to criticize, I quickly jump to defend the US. 

I still celebrate the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and other American holidays. I continue to seek the ways where I can keep my American traditions alive. 

We are all different, we all have our own opinions and thank God we have the First Amendment so that we can live this way.