Today marks America’s 244th birthday. This day recognizes all the suffering, fighting and personal sacrifices made by our founding fathers and thousands of believers in freedom and independence. Independence from the British Crown and a chance for America to build on that freedom and independence. We have done an amazing job in the 244 years of our life, even so there is still so much more room for improvement. We underwent many obstacles and overcame many tragedies and difficulties in these years, yet we stand united with a common goal ‘freedom’.
As an Albanian-American I feel a strong tie to America. I grew up in America from the age of 13, completed my education there, married there, and lived there until 2012, at which time I moved to Albania, land of my father; to my ancestral home. My love for America has not waned, as a matter of fact being away from her has made me appreciate her qualities more. No other country in the world (and I have traveled around the world and lived in a few) comes close to what we have in America. The freedoms so many are taking for granted these days are non-existent in the rest of the world. I have not been to a country yet where one can do or say what he/she pleases without government intervention. Our freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom to build, freedom to own property, freedom to criticize politicians, right to bear arms, freedom of religion, freedom to love whomever you choose, these are all precious and only found in America. Yes, you have first rate countries who also claim to have these freedoms, but they don’t, not really, not the way America does, they all have some restrictions one way or the other.
My point is that Americans should not be taking America for granted. They should revere her, fight for her and what she stands for and above all respect her and her history.
I am living in Albania now and have come to love this country as well. I have come to know my father’s land and see now the beauty he saw, appreciate the culture he grew up in. Although Albania is still struggling with freedoms which are being denied on so many levels; struggling with their communist past; struggling with many economical and political issues, I hope that one day she will look to that beacon of light shining in the west and realize that without respect for its people, without good, solid and fair laws which respect humanity and without an honest, deep love for her and the well being of her people she will never earn the faith and respect of the people who so much want to give it to her.
As the Eagle is a symbol for both my countries, I hope and pray that one day Albania will soar as high in the sky as her counterpart and together work to better the countries which unite many of us Albanian-Americans!