What does it mean to be an American?


When asking myself what it meant to be an American I came to the realization that I have never put a lot of thought into how American I am or ever really considered myself a patriot. I come from a white, American bred family. We’ve never had to struggle for citizenship, or other rights to freedom. I’ve never had experiences personally or interpersonally with the hardships involved with fleeing another country to find peace. However, I feel this gives me an opportunity to analyze and evaluate what it means to be an American far removed from the struggles of citizenship and ask myself if I truly am an American. In my research of this topic, I discovered a video by WNYC where they interviewed students of Baruch College in New York City on what they think it means to be an American. The answers of each student were constructed mostly around immigration. This got me thinking about how I never had to put a second thought into my citizenship or answer questions from my peers about my heritage.


Do I feel like I’m more American than those who have immigrated to America in the recent years? Absolutely not. I noticed a reoccurring theme in the answers of others that lined up with how I define America. America to me is the land of opportunity, freedom, and unity. The core of our country was framed by courageous individuals who were seeking freedom away from the monarchy of their birth countries. Whether you’re a first generation American or a fiftieth generation American we share the desire to be free to create safe lives for ourselves and loved ones. To have access to the fundamentals of being a human being.

Being an American Is not about who you are or where you’re from, but what you’re about. It’s a belief that all men are created equal and deserve a chance to live in peace and create their unique version of the American dream alongside neighbors sharing the same goal. The diversity in this country is what makes it so strong. President Barack Obama once said, “We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.” This I believe to be true. I am an American because I believe in freedom, unity, and the right to a life lived happily and peacefully. Any individual who shares this belief, I proudly will stand beside you as we pledge allegiance to the land of the free and the home of the brave.


Works Cited:

Sunset flag American fields. Digital image. http://www.pexels.com. Web. 2 Apr. 2017.

“What does it mean to be an American?” Youtube, uploaded by WNYC, 12 Oct. 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeSf7WhTtYo&t=98s.

Chelsea Scism,  “22 Inspiring Quotes About What It Means to Be an American.” The Daily Signal. N.p., 02 July 2015. Web. 08 Apr. 2017. <http://dailysignal.com/2015/07/02/22-inspiring-quotes-about-what-it-means-to-be-an-american/&gt;.


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