When we returned to the USA after living abroad for 13 years, we attended a parade in Salem, Massachusetts near our new home. Pushing a stroller, pregnant with our second, we joined the crowd, still feeling like foreigners in our own country.

We had to get used to huge American grocery stores teeming with fresh produce and shelves full of Oreos and Pop Tarts, things we’d missed while living in Hong Kong and England.  The conveniences and abundance were overwhelming here in America. We were wide-eyed for years.

At the parade, we watched Girl Scouts wave flags and local politicians smile and strut their stuff. But, when the marching band paused in front of the grandstand and played America The Beautiful, we lost it. My husband teared up but I completely lost all composure and balled, sobbing with an appreciation for my being home. 

I know you appreciate this community and this country and can pause to salute our independence on July 4.