Don Zorro, Independence Day 2022: Yes, I’m Proud to be an American

Hennepin Bridge 01b

(Editor’s note: Another thoughtful piece from our esteemed CONK! News Contributor Don Zorro on the occasion of the nation’s birthday. Mr. Zorro is a first-generation American, and his passion for being born here shows. The accompanying photo is of Minneapolis’ 4th of July fireworks display in front of the Hennepin Avenue Bridge – the site of the first bridge across the Mississippi at any point. Northeast Minneapolis, the site of our offices, is off the frame to the right.)

I love being an American.

I love being an American as much as I love being human. That means that, as a human, I am God’s creation. It means that for all the beauty that comes with being from God I am also deeply flawed. As a human, I am capable of much good but sometimes will make the wrong decisions but live my life with the hope that many more decisions and actions I take will be the right ones and that I will learn from the wrong ones. Sometimes I’ll make the same mistakes repeatedly… because I’m human.

I love being an American.

I love that even though my parents were born on a little island in the Atlantic whose people are an amalgam of Indians from South America, conquistadors from another continent, and others that were made slaves from still another continent, I was able to sing “Land of the pilgrims’ pride, land where my fathers died” as a child and actually feel it, believe it, and embrace it.

I love being an American.

I love growing up in a country where its national pastime, baseball, is so reflective of one of its core values, equal opportunity. There are no timeouts in baseball. You can’t just run the clock when you have the ball and proclaim yourself the winner. When you’re down there is always the bottom of the ninth to give you a chance, however slim, to settle the score.

I love being an American.

I love that in an airport terminal I can hear a strong Bronx accent, a Texas drawl, a sweet North Carolina lilt, and L.A. surfer-speak all spoken by people whose parents came from Germany, Japan, Ghana, and the Dominican Republic.

I love being an American.

I love that I’m different from others in the world. Because I love that I am secure enough in who I am to not want to be like others. I am content with the richness that is part of who I am without coveting the nature of others while accepting my foibles. I derive pride from living under the oldest constitution in the world. I love that we have grown over the last 236 years to amend that constitution to reflect some newer acknowledgements over earlier decisions. I love that we can bend without snapping in two although once we came close. We fought an internal battle and spent a long time healing.

And I love being an American.

I love how easily we laugh together. I love how we come together in times of tragedy. I love that under the best circumstances we can sit and talk and figure things out and sometimes just vent even though nothing gets figured out. We’ll get it next time. We still have the bottom of the ninth.

Happy birthday, America. I love you.


Don Zorro



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Written by CONK!

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