We asked on Facebook: What does it mean to be an American?
The freedom to discuss ideas with people who oppose your views and still grab a beer and remain friends. Honoring our mentors and the sacrifices of those who protect our freedoms.
– Eric Froeschner
Opportunity, freedom of speech and religion, diversity in all aspects of life.
– LuLu Benavidez
It’s a feeling. It is knowing you are a part of a country that strives on its members having rights and privileges. It gives each of us a feeling that we matter.
– William Fossier
To me, it’s quite simple: freedom and being a true patriot. I was born after World War II. To this day, I get chills hearing our American anthem and can cry at the strains of the music. I have respect for the Office of the President, no matter what political party is in power. I was raised to be a true American patriot and I know that has happened. Race was never brought up and I always considered everyone an equal. So, I can proudly say, 72 years later, that I am proud to be an American.
– Frances Kelly
It means the freedom to be who I am, do what I want and go where I please.
– Kathy Moore Gottlieb
Freedom of movement and travel!
– Joe Olmedo
It means inheriting a nation that many people worked very hard for.
– Stephan Brewer
Ability to express thoughts/feelings/beliefs without fear of reprisals.
– Lawrence Nalewak
Land of the free and the home of bourbon.
– Frank Caruso
To be an American for me is to be one from many — E pluribus unum.
It is to see that we are part of a great tapestry filled with diversity — languages, cultures, religions, thoughts — where we have decided that we can rise above the differences in our individual histories and become something better as a nation.
We have music from around the globe, brought together in the pain of slavery and turned into gospel and rhythm and blues, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll. We jam to the sounds of Bollywood, to country swing and the heartbeat of the universe — the Native American drum. It is a place where the better angels of our nature have given rise to civil rights, women’s suffrage and an attempt at equality on a scale not seen before.
We are children of the Enlightenment, though so often our heroes were not as enlightened as we would wish. We are a country that is in the process of living up to its promise and, God willing, we will become that place to which we aspire.
– Stephen F. Duncan
Almost unfettered privilege to be whatever we wish.
– Holly Thorson
– Mike McAfee
– Roxanne Clarke Gonzales
It means being from the most exceptional country in the world. Despite our troubles, Democracy rocks!
– Marsha Wilson Rappaport
Being an American means having freedom of speech and freedom of the press, something many, many people worldwide do not enjoy. It means a sense of being protected by people who in my family and in the family of others have made that sacrifice to garner some stability. Some people wake up to bombing and unrest. Generally, we don’t. Being an American means having adequate water, groups that offer food and opportunity to make economic choices, no matter how rough your beginning. It means being able to reach out for help no matter how messed up your life may be. It means being able to make choices once we decide to do so. It means honoring those who make sacrifices for us, politically, socially, creatively and among our families and friends.
– Dale Taylor