Am I still proud of my country? You bet. Am I proud of everything that it has done? No. I believe that the average American, despite all of the controversy about the Patriot Act and other violations of our civil rights, lives one of the freest lives in the world. Even with America falling into a recession, we also have some of the highest living standards in the world.

But, these are not what make me the most proud of my country. I find my pride in the willingness of the millions of young Americans who have been willing to leave our country and fight for the freedom of others around the world. Say what you will about the intentions of the leaders that involve out troops in conflicts across the globe, but the men and women in uniform who grab their boots and rifles and ship off across the world do it because they believe that they are doing it to help people.

The United States has not chosen to sit back in isolated prosperity, but it has tried to use what resources it has to help oppressed people. Yes, sometimes these attempts have been poorly executed, but their aims were good. Yes, there are cynics out there who believe that every war America has ever entered was fought by greedy leaders in Washington, DC. Maybe some were. But the average Joe American who fought and died so that others could be free makes me proud of my country.