Why Is America So Great?

Are you a proud American? Do your eyes become teary when you hear something good about this country, when you hear the song, America, when you see many of our troops being honored, or when the Peoples of the world take time out to thank us in general? Well, I’m not ashamed to say that, I do tear up from time to time.

I truly believe that we live in the greatest country in the world for the following reasons. First of all, I believe with all my heart, that God’s favor has been showered upon this country, due in part to our benevolent attitude. Whenever tragedy strikes a less fortunate part of the world, we render assistance immediately, no matter what the circumstances. We don’t sit around, and ask whether or not that particular part of the world is a friend, or foe. Our primary concern is the human value placed on that hurting populace.

Secondly, I believe that part of our greatness comes from within.  As a nation, we are blessed with a unique racial make up, which when meshed together, accomplishes the impossible. We are Native -Americans, Europeans,  African- Americans, Latinos, and Asians.  Together, we overcome,  thrive , and achieve.  “Of many, we are one”.

This coming 4th of July, be thankful for who we are. We are proud, but not arrogant. We are humble, but not meek. We are  strong, but not  bullies, for we defend those who are being bullied. We have abundance, but share with the world.  As the world wonders, why we are such a caring nation,we say, We care because, “We are One Nation Under God. We are America”. God bless this great country.

My Dad, My Hero

He, my dad, Juan Antonio Velazquez Tolentino, was born into a very poetically, and musically talented family. His father, Arturo (Turi ) Parrilla, was a well established guitarist, and orchestra leader in his own right, in Puerto Rico. He was also a distinguished musician with the Rafael Hernandez orchestra in New York. Mr. Hernandez was a highly respected composer, and musician, not only in PR, but also throughout Latin America.

My dad’s mother, Maria , and  grandpa Parrilla, divorced when my dad was but a young lad.  She established residency with her brother Antonio Velazquez Tolentino, who assisted with the rearing of my dad. My dad finally met his biological father, at age eleven. He was shocked, but  in awe, at the realization of having such a famous person for a father. Through the years,  they developed a strong  father-son relationship. 

As a young adult, my dad established himself not only academically, but also as a standout athlete. He ran track, played basketball, and boxed. He was gifted with a photographic memory as well. In time, he became a very popular musician in his home town, having composed several musical projects. He also wrote a jingle for a very popular soft drink known as,”Coco Rico”.

In his early 20s, he gave his heart to the Lord, gave up his promising music career, and became a minister, a position he held for sixty years. During that period, he composed numerous gospel songs, one of which is well-known in the US and Latin America. I had the honor of recording that song,  “La Historia De Millones”, (The Story of Millions) which was released in the 90s.

As a father to this writer, and my siblings, he was the most loving, nurturing, and benevolent of all men. Was he strict?….. yes he was, but whenever he had to discipline one of us, he would always say, “I need to do this, but remember that I do love you with all my heart”. His love for his family  was beyond reproach.

My dad went to be with the Lord in 1994, but what a legacy he left for us. He was a fantastic role model, a mentor, teacher, and close friend. I do miss his great sense of humor, the way he played his guitar, his attentiveness, and hearing his voice, but most of all, his dedication to God, and  his family. That is why on this father’s day, I want the world to become acquainted with, “my hero, my dad”. I love you Papito.