It was Memorial Day on Monday which meant a weekend of celebrating and remembering, of giving thanks and spending time with family.
Memorial Day is an American federal holiday to remember the Men and Women who are currently serving, are veterans and especially those who have died whilst serving in the US Armed Forces.
Ever since we moved here I have noticed that Americans give thanks almost daily for the work their troops do.
From special mentions on tv shows like Ellen and adverts on tv, to unique registration plates on their cars, to fast pass through immigration at the airport, America honours their servicemen and women and veterans.
A police officer from Kalamazoo was shot and killed last year. There was a parade through the town and most of downtown was shut off so it could pass through. Almost every single police officer was there to salute as the coffin went past. A year on and there are still signs along the road to remember him and the investigation into his death is still top of the news. Americans do not forget.
They seem to me, to be a nation who are grateful for their freedom, who are proud of who they are and are very good at saying thank you.
It makes me realise how lucky we are (English and Americans) to have freedom of speech. To be able to talk openly (if you want to) about politics or religion. There will be an election here soon and I hear a lot of people putting Obama down for his plans to bring an NHS style system here. Mitt Romney seems to be the favourite to take his place so we will have to see how it pans out (but that's a whole other blog post!)
It's that American stereotype of being loud and proud, high fives and celebrating every little success. Some people find it annoying or cheesey.
I find it uplifting.
We went along to the Memorial Day Parade on Monday. The kids waved their American flags and scrambled into the road to collect sweets that had been thrown by people in the parade. They waved to the fire trucks, police, clowns and local senators who drove by. They clapped for the veterans on the floats, the Scouts and marching bands. The sun was shining and we had fun.
Most of our neighbours were away - the Michigan tradition over the holiday weekend is to drive up north to the lakes, but we decided to take it easy and chill out at home.
We have family arriving soon and I am so excited to spend time with them and watch all of the kids playing together.