I am a portrait of an American girl. Born in 1974, I am a true mutt, a Heinz 57 girl, with every nationality in me. I am part Patawatomi Indian, French, Scotch-Irish, English, Swedish, German, Hungarian, and probably more that I don’t know yet. My Father was a small farmer in the Midwest (Buchanan, Michigan), an ex-Marine of 7 years’ service, and a good Christian man. We grew up in church with a belief that a good education was more important than finery. We had two dogs, a cat, a guinea pig, some fish here and there, and an occasional hermit crab. I can shoot a mean rifle and bow and arrow with accuracy. I can pitch a ball and hit pretty good and played in little league then church league. July 4th was a very very big party at our house with hundreds of dollars worth of fireworks, a barbecue and homemade ice cream. More important than all that was the fact that I am extremely proud of my American heritage. We are a free people, and not too many countries can boast that with such confidence. Our history includes pathetic and downright ugly occasions, some massacres and some bad political leaders, and that is not pretty. However, in getting us to freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms, freedom to govern ourselves and our families as our conscience dictates, freedom to worship the Lord together in church, freedom to speak, freedom to vote for those who start off good in office, freedom to work, freedom to own land, etc., all these freedoms come at high cost and include ugly stories and some absolutely divine and inspiring ones. I am proud of my ancestors who came over on the Mayflower and some that were already here and all they endured to keep surviving and having babies generation after generation until I am here today. I am proud of their integrity in raising generation after generation who cherished and read the Bible together and went to church. I am thankful to grow up in a time period where we could leave our doors unlocked and sleep soundly in our beds. I am thankful that I had friends who were many different colors and nationalities and we all had a great time together. I am proud that I walked freely in my neighborhood and everyone knew each other because people talked to each other. I am an American woman, and there is no place in the world I would rather claim as my beloved country. We need to pray and work hard to keep it that way. We are America, the freedom makers and defenders. We must continue this high calling from God.