Danny, what you wrote was very moving, and thank you for your service to our country.
Let me tell you the story from the other side of the coin. I was born in SJ, PR in 1973 and have lived all my life in this tiny piece of land. As most Puertoricans I have family in NY and my parents met and where married in Brooklyn, with the dream of raising their family in the Island.
I’ve always felt blessed and kind of special just for being Puertorican. At the same time there is often a feeling of impotence because our destiny is not in our hands. When my son was born in 1997 I came to realize that someday a President of the United States could send him to war without our participation in the polls.
Now to the Olympics… I am an American Citizen and I watch cheering for the American athletes… in so far that there is not a Puertorican competing. The US wins often and I can tell you that my heart does not jump out of my chest when they win. To give you an example, we have an athlete of Puertorican descent in the women gymnast team. I wish her all the best, and I respect and understand why she is a part of the best team in the world…the US team. Does it make me disloyal that there are not strong emotional ties for her wins?
There is a dichotomy for us too.
Nothing compares to the Gold Medal last saturday, seeing our flag raised above all, and hearing “La Borinqueña”. Nothing compares to the heart Monica showed the world resides inside this tiny set of islands. No matter how much I may wish to feel more emotion for the US, in my heart “yo soy Boricua”, Puerto Rico is my nation, represents my culture.
I’ve had the opportunity to travel often for work and on vacations. I love visiting other countries but at the end of it all when I am on the plane back in the window seat I prefer, that first glimpse of this tiny piece of land makes my heart pump faster and fills me with incredible joy because I know I am back home.
I understand your feelings of guilt because I’ve experienced the same but from a different perspective.
I will just say welcome to the incredible, proud, sometimes tacky realization that you are Boricua too!
Your love for this island glows from your words. You are welcome in my house any time, “mi casa es su casa”.