Elaine Fogel

With Thanksgiving Day approaching, I decided to focus on what makes me grateful to live in the United States. Sure, I complain about many things that bug me…like the political divisiveness that stymies important governmental decision making and the sometimes brash approach Americans¬† can take with “others.”

There’s no perfect place on earth and that’s why it takes each one of us to try making it better. With my glass half full, here are the 5 reasons I am grateful for living in the USA:

  1. America truly is a place of opportunity. People with drive, smarts, and creativity can rise in the ranks of their professions or trades. Ambition is an admired character trait as well as being bold and confident. Not cocky, confident. In the six years I’ve lived here, I have achieved more than I could have imagined, especially being an immigrant with no preexisting business ties.
  2. Americans (in general) are philanthropic. Working in the nonprofit marketing arena, I frequently witness or hear about people doing amazing things for their communities. Some stories are so inspirational, I am in awe.
  3. America’s origins are a beacon of ingenuity and foresight. In developing the framework for the new nation, the Founding Fathers created¬† a system that has withstood the test of time. When Americans talk about freedom, their eyes light up with pride, almost as if they invented the concept.
  4. Americans have an innate spirit that’s contagious. They aren’t ashamed or shy to show their national pride. They cheer, wear red, white and blue, and fly flags on their homes. They take their traditions seriously and make them a priority. Take Thanksgiving as an example. It is the most ubiquitously celebrated holiday in the country. Almost everyone you ask does something special for Thanksgiving.
  5. Americans may be diverse in their backgrounds and immigrant traditions, but when push comes to shove, they are Americans first and foremost.

As I spend more time here and become more at home, my gratitude grows. Sure, I continue to criticize what I find disturbing, but it’s because I see the power, strength, and potential of what this nation can be. Innovation grows here.

If Americans could focus more on their commonalities and values and less on acrimonious political rhetoric, and begin to work cohesively, there would be no stopping them in the global economy of the 21st century.

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