Happy 4th of July! Celebrate America with a bang, not a whimper!

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“America is the land of freedom and that’s the way I enjoy living.” — John Wayne

I’m going to preface this with my usual I don’t get into politics in my blog, but I’m not here to talk about politics. I’m here to talk about America. I am the son of a United States Marine and a U.S. Navy Sailor. I also served for 23 years in the U.S. Navy. I have two uncles, my brother and sister-in-law who served in the Marines, my grandfather, another uncle, and a cousin who served in the Navy. Add to that my family history with the military from the Revolutionary War through World War II, and you can understand where my love of country comes from. It was taught into me since I was a kid, and it’s something I passed onto my own children as well.

It saddens me to see my country degrade into the state we’re in right now. I’m not going to talk about being liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, but rather about being an American. People in politics, the media, and all across this country talk about it as if it’s a bad word. Why? Why is being an American so bad?

People say we live in a “fascist state” because of our president. Really? I always ask this question of those who call our country terrible and evil: If America is such a bad place, then why is everyone trying to get here and become a U.S. citizen. One word… Freedom.

How would you like the government telling you how to dress, style your hair, or what music you can listen to? In Iran, men cannot sport certain hair styles other than what is prescribed in Islam. Women are not allowed to go out in public unless they adhere to certain dress codes, such as covering their head in hijab and avoiding skinny jeans. Western music such as jazz, rock, and rap are strictly prohibited.

How would you like the government controlling your phone and internet access or telling journalists what to say? In Syria, communications through mobile and landline phones and internet access are significantly limited. Syrian journalists who act against the government are tortured or, worse, end up dead.

Better yet, how would you like the government to tell you how to worship in whatever religion you practice? Situated above the Horn of Africa is the small country of Eritrea. There, no one is allowed to perform public worship and one has to apply as a member to a certain sect before they can be allowed to practice their faith.

Do you see my point? We have a Bill of Rights which guarantees all of these rights to the people. That’s what makes America great. Sure, it’s not perfect… What country is? We have to make it the best we can, but we can only do that together. Remember, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall!”

That’s what makes America worth celebrating on the 4th of July. It’s not because we’re fascists or racists. It’s because we’re Americans and proud of it. So have a party, dance the night away, watch some fireworks, and thank a veteran while you’re at it. Have a Happy 4th of July!

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51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.

Happy Fourth of July! It’s okay to be patriotic!

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Happy 4th of July!

First and foremost, I want to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July! I hope your weekend is filled with fireworks, barbecue, family and friends. As a retired veteran, I am always proud to be a part of our nation’s birthday. I like to think it’s a sense of pride, although some in the world today might see it more as arrogance.

Is it arrogant to be proud and patriotic? I don’t think so. People have pride in their looks, in the job they do, in celebrating achievements through life, like graduations. What’s wrong with pride in one’s country?

To me, that pride is transcendent of not only who you are but where you live. People who come to America from other countries are proud of their heritage but that changes when they raise their hand and take the oath to become American citizens. I’ve witnessed such a ceremony and, believe me, it’s a very emotional moment when an immigrant proudly calls him/herself an American for the first time.

In the Forever Avalon series, Lord Bryan MoonDrake starts out as a simple Sailor, devoted to God, duty, country and family, while serving in the U.S. Navy. That patriotism—that pride—transcends when he finds himself stranded on Avalon, after he discovered his extraordinary  lineage with one of the original Knights of the Round Table.

At that moment, he changed his loyalty, devotion to duty and his patriotism from the United States of America to Avalon. Though his world changed completely for him, he took it in stride as he stepped up and assumed the mantle of the Gil-Gamesh. Instead of answering to the President of the United States, he now answered to the King of Avalon.

This may seem simple enough plotline for a story but it’s really not. A lot of thought and emotion goes into decisions like this. The real question is, what happens if those loyalties are tested?

This is a tease for the next installment of the Forever Avalon series I’m currently working on, tentatively title The Outlander War! I hope to have it finished by the end of the year. Now, those of you who’ve read The Dark Tides know what little twist I’m talking about; and for those of you who haven’t read it yet, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to pick up my book. I guarantee that, after you do, you’ll be eagerly anticipating the third book.

In any case, I guess what I was really trying to say is that, though it may not be “politically correct” to be patriotic anymore, I wear it with a great deal of pride. I am proud to have served my country, I am proud to live in the greatest nation on the planet and I am definitely proud to be an American. Have a safe and happy Independence Day! God bless you and God bless the United States of America!

The Dark Tides is now available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iUniverse.