To be an American is something I never truly appreciated until I was older. When I was growing up I never thought about how life was so special here. We as a family didn’t really talk much about our freedom or things we had that other countries didn’t. I knew that we were free because our military fought for us, but I didn’t truly understand the meaning of freedom until I was older and began to see that other countries were so different. Just because you were born here, to me, doesn’t really mean you’re American. Technically maybe, but to me it’s much more than just where you were born.
The meaning of being American to me is that I have the opportunity to choose things for myself and have appreciation for those who fought for the rights I have. Growing up as an American, I have the freedom to choose where I live, who I am friends with, where I want to work, what car I want to drive, what time I go to bed, what food to eat, and to express my opinions and beliefs. I consider myself an American because I am honored and appreciative of the freedom we have here. I remember playing outside as a child and not having to be scared or worried about my safety. It seemed that was not a topic we discussed much or didn’t feel like we had to anyway. We were carefree most of the time and didn’t have to stress about daily things we did. I wish it could be that way again, but I know realistically it will never be like that again. The funny irony of that is I just had my wallet stolen on Friday by a student! Your trust and spirit will harden really fast when that stuff happens.
Another way I believe you’re an American is that you respect who fought for you to have this freedom. All the men and women who have given up portions of their lives to live away from their families and friends sacrificed so much. I don’t think we can fully understand that sacrifice unless we have been in their shoes. I believe we as the people who received the gift of freedom can easily be the people who will take it away if we are not careful, though. As Americans, we must recognize and appreciate what we have and show it as often as we can. As Abraham Lincoln said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” With everything going on today, all the racism and hate, it is within ourselves we have to look for the hope to keep our freedoms alive.
Although we have our freedom, and America is safer than a lot of countries, it still makes you wonder what it could be like if we treated others with the same respect, loyalty and honesty as they wanted us to as they infer in the Pledge of Allegiance. This video shows what Americans think it means to them personally about being an American https://youtu.be/FAAKZWKVNTg. Sometimes we take for granted all the things we have and can decide on for ourselves. We don’t teach our children to appreciate the things we have that other countries do not. It’s all about respect and not that we are just given something but really knowing that someone before us fought hard for what we have today. Hopefully we can pay it forward and teach as well as show our children what it means to be an American and how to be the best American.
Will Sather, “What it Means to be an American” online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 1 June 2016. Web. 7 April 2017