I own one of the most valuable material possessions on earth.
It is small. It weighs maybe an ounce or two. It isn't a work of art or a thing of beauty.
It isn't easily sold or traded. It can't be worn and no one would really want to show it off.
Yet people have given their lives to get it. They have left their homes, their families, risked everything, traveled thousands of miles with no guarantee of success - some on foot or in leaky boats or smuggled like contraband.
They wait years and try again and again just to obtain this thing that was sent to me in an envelope one day. If I lose it, I can replace it without much trouble.
By virtue of my birth, I have this priceless possession. It is a United States passport.
And yes, I am thankful, not just because it gives me the right to travel. It gives me the right to travel and come home. I don't always agree with everything my government does, but there are so many people who want to be U.S. citizens that I have to remember what a gift it is to be here.
Of course the thing that makes this country great isn't the government, but the people. Every time we express our crazy American optimism and openness, every time we use or entrepreneurial spirit, when we uphold human rights, when we act ethically instead of taking bribes and engaging in nepotism - we make this place what it should be, the kind of country people still want to come to for a better life. I want to live in a way that help make this a country worth dreaming of.