I was not born in America but I came here as a young woman. My intention was to get an education and go back to where I had come from. But things changed in my birth country and I decided to stay.
I went to school here, got married, had children, worked and paid taxes. I became a citizen and I have been voting in every presidential election since. I love to celebrate the 4th of july, the American Independence Day from British rule. I would hate to live in a country that had a king or queen in the 21st century.
When I was a newcomer and didn't know much about world history or politics I would wonder why people who had free countries would choose to live in America. In college I had classmates from Vietnam, China, Philippines, and Mexico. I was thinking if Armenia was a free country I would never want to live anywhere else but there.
At the time Armenia was a Communist Soviet Republic. In 1991 Armenia became an independent country free from Soviet rule. I visited in 2006 and 2007. My first visit was a dream come true. All my life I had wanted Armenia to be free of the Russians and it finally was. I felt very fortunate to finally see a free and democratic Armenia. The country is beautiful, full of history and culture, people are nice and hospitable. But even after 22 years of freedom and democracy Armenia still has profound problems. There is high unemployment, poverty, rampant corruption, crime, stollen elections, social problems such as domestic violence and child abuse. I know that some people will say that America has the same problems even much worse. They would be partially correct. Yes no country on Earth is problem free, but here there are more laws to protect people. There are organizations, and institutions to deal with these problems. In Armenia some of the problems are not even acknowledged as problems. Anyone reading any Armenian news publication or any media knows what I am talking about. I could not live in Armenia the way it is today. Even in daily life I would probably have arguments with people in stores, banks and government offices. Because I know that as a human being and a woman I have rights and I could not let any one trample on my rights Armenian or not.
Now I fully understand why people from all over the world or where ever there is no freedom chose to live in America.
I have lived in America most of my adult life. I have come to take for granted most of the rights and freedoms that a great number of people on Earth still don't have. Living in America I have no fear of persecution because I am a woman, or a minority or a Christian, or a Democrat, or whatever I chose to be. There are countries that would put me in prison if I got raped, I would be stoned to death If I had a lover. I would be mutilated if I was a girl in some countries. I would be killed and my church would be torched for being a Christian in some other country. There are countries that woman can't vote, or drive, or have property or travel without permission from a male person. I don't want to live in a country that won't let girls to go to school or will marry them when they are a mere child.
I am an Armenian, I speak, read and write my language fluently, I have kept our traditions and I am proud of my heritage. But I am also an Armenian who has chosen to live in America because America is still the greatest country on Earth. Tomorrow my large family will barbecue, have lots of beer and watch fireworks.
Have a great and safe 4th of July my fellow Americans.