I wrote this post about a month ago but never shared. Today seemed appropriate. Let’s get back to what we love about each other and not what we hate. I’m not for him. I’m not for her. I’m for US.
I grew up right outside of Cairo Egypt until I was 5 years old. The most vivid thought that I can still remember is that every time we came back to the states I would ask my Mom if this time it was forever. I new very early on that America was an amazing place. A place where I was free to roam and play. A far cry from the dusty, hot and culturally opposite place that I currently resided.
We lived in an all American “complex” with our schools within walking distance and with all of our friends in the same building. I remember our van driver Rashad and our house keeper, Osanie, both of whom I adored. I also remember seeing children using the bathroom on the side of the road and the constant smell of burning trash.
When my mom finally told me “Yes, Rhem, we are going home forever” I really didn’t believe it. I mean, were we really getting to live in that beautiful place with fresh air, green trees and freedom to roam and play, and be with people I could actually talk to and understand? Elation.
Now coming home did have a few bumps. I was looked at funny as the new girl from somewhere weird. Pretty sure some still think my name is Egyptian. My best friend growing up told everyone she could that I was half Egyptian till we were in middle school. (Insert rolling eyes) And I had to do some serious catching up in the music and entertainment department.
But back to why America is great… My dad gave up a pretty great job for our happiness. To live in the US was worth everything. And he was reminded of that with every business he started and with every business that didn’t meet his expectations and with every investment that went wrong and with every fire we had to endure (a total of 3).
I watched him use the privilege we are given as Americans everyday. He didn’t expect anything to come to him unless he earned it. He worked hard everyday and never ever gave up. I am so proud of him. Thank you, Dad, for sacrificing so much so that me and my brother and sister could grow up in the best country on Earth.
I have also had the privilege of growing up in a family owned business run by it’s women. Or 2 women really – my Mother and Grandmother. That sure as hell wasn’t going to happen in Egypt.
My grandmother worked tirelessly until she was no longer able and after her passing my Mom took the reins and continued her legacy. The Grey Goose is now one of Greenville’s gems and of course, the best children’s clothing store around.
The other night I was watching the news and a man in a blown up apartment building in Aleppo, with gun shots and dust surrounding it, was handing an infant out the window straight into a war zone. It made me sick. Sick for not only those people and the innocent life living in hells fury, but also sick to think that we live in such an amazing place that, if you turned on the tv, you’d think was absolute shit. Which brings me to my point.
We are blessed to live in this great country where anyone can dream of being President, women can be CEO’s, all religions are welcome, and freedom truly rings. People all over this world would give up everything to be here. This country thrives because of it’s people. Not the government, but the PEOPLE. Because of our eagerness to work, learn, help, love and UNDERSTAND one another.
I write this because we are all Americans and I’d like to think we all have at least one thing in common: the desire to keep this country great. I think the only way we can fix the political, social, racial, economical, etc etc etc… issues that are eating this country alive right now is to turn off the tv and talk. not fight… not defend… not alienate and not offend. Just talk with open minds and open hearts. We all have far more in common than we think if we would all just shut up and listen.
So… in the midst of all this negative we are surrounded with, let’s generate and spread something positive. I encourage you to share your story of why you love America and help get our conversations back to what really matters… ONE indivisible nation full of unique and awe inspiring individuals, that regardless of our social, economic, religious, sex or racial status, share the greatest country on earth – The United States of America.
Written by Rhem Galloway