On July 4, 1998, I returned to The United States, flying in from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. I always thought it fortuitous that I returned on what is probably one of the most significat days of the American calendar.
I was very happy to return to America. America, despite the fact I had been living abroad for 10 years, was always home to me. Visiting America was like returning home.
This will be the tenth-year anniversary of my return. I feel so very blessed to be here.
An image that will always stick with me is going to the American consulate in Karachi. Despite all the roadblocks and barriers, the building was surrounded with blocks-long snaking lines of people. My Dad and I went to renew my passport. He held up that blue rectangle, and walked through the throngs. Seeing that blue booklet, the guards waved us into the checkpoint. No waiting. They checked our bags and waved us into the consulate proper with a smile.
One small, blue booklet allowed us to bypass a throng of anxious people who had been waiting for hours.
And that little blue booklet meant security to me. Whenever things got bad, our consulate always contacted us and remained in touch with us. I knew that if it came to it, our consulate would whisk us out of the country. Of course, we had nothing to worry about, being brown and thus not suspected for being American, but it meant a lot that I had an eagle watching over me.
The point is that being an American is a privilege and a blessing. We should not take it for granted. There are literally millions who want what we have. Let us be always thankful for this country and for all it stands for.
I thank all the brave men and women who keep us safe, whether we’re in the US or abroad. You are our heroes and angels, even guardian angels.
God bless America!