Gar-Field teen counts her blessings in the land of the free – Potomac News Online

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Sara Gillespie, who likes to spend time at the mall and wants to be an actress when she grows up, said she feels fortunate to be alive and well in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

“Being born in America is like being born into royalty,” Gillespie, 15, said. “You get to be what everybody else wishes they had.”

When she’s not hanging out at the skate park in the mall, Gillespie works at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge selling peanuts and Cracker Jack as well as hamburgers and hot dogs while the Potomac Cannons play baseball.

She said she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world and counts herself among the lucky when she watches television and sees those less fortunate.

“I don’t want to be anyplace else but America. I’m just so proud to be an American,” said Gillespie, a Gar-Field High School student.

Gillespie also said she appreciates the diversity among Americans and figures that’s what America is all about. She said she likes to learn about the differences of the people in the community and her time at the mall gives her the opportunity to learn about others.

“Everybody from everywhere can come here and be free. America is like the mixing pot and patriotism is for everyone,” Gillespie said.

“I just like to hang out with all of the different people and get to know them. When you get to know people, you kind of forget about skin color,” she said.

Gillespie said her aunt

introduced her to Civil War re-enacting and she has consequently spent a fair amount of time around campfires at the region’s battlefields.

She said she thinks the experience gave her some perspective about the cost of freedom.

“It makes you realize how hard we had to work to be free,” Gillespie said, “It makes you realize what people had to go through to be free.”

Gillespie said she has always had feelings of patriotism and pride in America and was as shaken as anyone after the Sept. 11 attacks, but tries to continue to take everyone at face value.

“I try not to let it change the way I look at certain people, but I think things changed a little for everybody after that,” Gillespie said.

Staff writer Keith Walker can be reached at (703) 878-8063.

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