As an American, I have many freedoms that have influenced my life. It was the freedom of love that brought my parents together and the freedom of religion that allowed them to become members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Because of those rights, I was sealed to my parents at the age of five and have the privilege of retaining those sacred memories. It was the freedom of choice that allowed them to move from California to Utah and the right to equal opportunity for all which enabled us to have comfortable shelter, food, and jobs.

Keep in mind that comfort is not always convenience as I was raised with no plumbing and an outhouse for eight years while living in a two car garage. Well, it was more of a carport.

The small community I grew up in had no gas pumps, schools or grocery stores. All luxuries were obtained in town, down a narrow two lane river road through a winding red canyon. River Road – meaning black ice in the winter, flooding over after spring thaws, dysfunctional tourist and spandex speed bumps throughout the summer.

It was an adventure, and it all made me feel close to the early explorers and settlers that built this great nation. Sometimes I would feel a little like a savage in the summers when other countries would invade the small town of Moab, but I learned to share what this land has to offer. Becoming grateful for what God had blessed me with and proud in this nation’s beautiful scenic majesties.

America is a land filled with many possibilities – Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice & Accountability, Good Works, Integrity, and Virtue. Because I followed those possibilities, I am here today.

If I could impress upon you anything today, it would be – Be Appreciative.

We have a great nation with so many freedoms and choices that sometimes we mistake as an entitlement. Remember that our ancestors fought both for our real freedom as well as our religious rights and we must fight too. The oppression is not the same but is ever present.  I bow my head in acknowledgment to the trails that have been and are yet to come – they have made me who I am.  If I can live through these next trials, then I will become a better person for it.

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