I’m doing a lot of writing for class these days. And I mean A LOT! But, because I enjoy sharing what I write, I figured… hey, why not post what I write for class on my blog. Then I thought… Hey, that’s a great idea.
Shortly after those two thoughts was this final one… Man, I feel sorry for my audience.
But, hope you enjoy. This piece is something I wrote for my American Lit class answering the question of “What’s it mean to be an American?”
American by Definition
America is the land of the free and home of the brave. Or so the words go. A prisoner of war wrote those words on a British barge during the War of 1812 as he watched Fort McHenry suffer a bombardment. Words, plain and simple, but words that spark inside of it the imaginations of the reader as to what it means to be an American, and a shining example of the power that mere words have to sway the heart and mind. Although that line barely scratches the surface of what it means to be an American, it breathes life into the core of the Constitution’s requirements, lifting those words off the paper and making them so much more.
The Constitution states that one must be born or naturalized in order to be an American and by those acts alone you shall bear that title. Yet, the land of the free is made so by the acts of the brave, and although one can be born (or naturalized) and thus fulfill the words of the law, the spirit in which they were written still cries forth from the pages of the Revolutionary war that birthed this nation, wherein men like John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington put everything they held as dear on the line all in the name of the freedom they sought to secure. No, being an American is much more then a birthright or choice to change nationality, it is a calling to something much greater then ourselves. It is a call to be brave and bold and stand with our fellow American’s to ensure that the liberties that we were granted long before we were born are there for our children’s children. Then, and only then, can we call ourselves American’s.
To echo the words of the document that started this great nation, “We the people…”. Those words are a call to action, a call to join together as one and stand as a united people. It is because of those words that we have a better understanding of what it means to be an American.