When I was a young girl, it was easy to be proud to be American. Every day at elementary school, I’d place my right hand over my heart and pledge my allegiance to a flag that represented a country in which I had unwavering faith was the best country in the world. I remember I had a vinyl record of Disney characters singing Americana songs. I’d put it on and march around the den singing “God Bless America” at the top of my lungs with Mickey and Donald Duck and just feel my chest swell with patriotism. But now I’m not sure if I’m just older and wiser or if times have really changed, but I feel like I just have to turn on the news to see this country’s latest scandal, and it’s no longer so easy to feel proud to be American.
It’s easy and almost trendy to become jaded in this day and age. Amidst the scandals, wars, and encroachments on civil liberties, it’s simple to forget that the things that made me proud to be an American as a small child still ring true today. So in honor of this Fourth of July weekend, I thought I’d share four reasons I’m proud to be American.
- Peaceful changes of power happen all the time. It’s not something to take for granted that in America we have elections and change leaders on a regular basis without any violence occurring.
- We have freedom to be and express who we are. According to the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I am so grateful to live in a country where I am free to express my opinions, thoughts, and ideas without fear. I am even more grateful that I am free to practice my religion openly.
- We are a melting pot of cultures and beliefs. Along the lines of freedom of expression and religion, America is made up of all different types of people who often make unlikely neighbors. Yet we live at peace with one another. There are many places in the world where that just doesn’t happen.
- American spirit and ingenuity gets it done. Over the history of America, there have been many seemingly impossible tasks that this country’s people have faced and they have risen to the occasion. Whether it was the New Deal or it the first trip to the moon or coming together as a country after 9/11 the spirit of the American people is what makes this country great.
As I write this, I can hear the sound of fireworks from the next town over (they do their fireworks on the 3rd of July), and it’s a reminder of the lives that were given up to create this country. I know this country is far from perfect, but I’m thankful that I have the privilege of being American. And as long as there are people striving to uphold the principals this country was founded on I’ll still pledge my allegiance to one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.