There’s no day quite like the Fourth of July to make Americans reflect on the freedoms and gifts we too often take for granted as citizens of the U.S.A. And nobody salutes the red, white and blue quite as often or as seriously as country music stars. In light of this year’s Independence Day, longtime country music king Tim McGraw paused to reflect on what makes America a great place to live.

No. 1 on McGraw’s list of things that make him feel patriotic is the fact that the ‘Better Than I Used to Be’ hitmaker rose from small town citizen to mega-star status.

“The small town that I grew up in, in a lot of ways, sort of the situation that I grew up in, I don’t think there’s any other country in the world that I could have had the success that I’ve had and come from where I come from,” McGraw says (quote courtesy of Big Machine Records).

When McGraw talks about where he came from, he’s referring to a few tiny towns in Louisiana, where he was raised by his single mother. McGraw didn’t meet his biological father until he was age seven, but his dad didn’t actually acknowledge paternity until the country star was 18. Against all odds, McGraw moved to Nashville, where he signed to a label and become a household name in the 1990s. The ‘Indian Outlaw’ hitmaker truly lived a rags-to-riches story. That kind of “pulling yourself up from your bootstraps” transformation isn’t possible just anywhere.

McGraw also mentioned that baseball, country music and trucks make America a great place to live. What country music star isn’t thankful for the ability to drive a big ol’ truck on Independence Day?

This week, McGraw and his pal Kenny Chesney took a few days off of Chesney’s Brothers of the Sun Tour. Mum’s the word about what the two country stars will do to celebrate America’s birthday, but we’re sure that they’ll salute the flag in style. They’ll resume the tour on Saturday with a rocking show at Soldier Field in Chicago.