What It Means To Be American Essay Series

What does it mean to be an American?

To be an American to me means that I am free. That when I grow up I can pick the job I want, what shift to work. And to have a good education. It means that I can say "The Pledge of Allegiance" and that I can vote for the President, my county clerk, and the Mayor. But to me it means most of all to be free and to be proud that I live in the United States of America here in Wisconsin.
Ashley M., 10, Wisconsin

It means that you are free. It also means you can vote for who you want to.
Hannah K., 10, Wisconsin

I think it's cool being an American because we are free. The Pledge stands for everything.
Alex K., 10, Wisconsin

I think it means to be free. I wouldn't want to be from any other country.
Cheyenne L., 10, Wisconsin

It is great to be an American. We get to play sports and eat lots of food. We get lots of toys, all because we are free — the best thing of all.
Austin B., 11, Wisconsin

Being an American to me is being free. It also means to be fair.
Kaitlyn T., 10, Wisconsin

Being an American is about being free and loyal. It's about having freedom of religion, rights, and justice. It's also about being about yourself.
Sarah K., 10, Wisconsin

To be an American for me means freedom and justice. I also think being an American is a big responsibility.
Neil C., 10, Wisconsin

Being an American means that we are all treated equally no matter what color skin you have, and it doesn't matter what culture you are from. If you are an American you are mighty lucky because you will be free forever.
Cody S., 10, Wisconsin

I think that America is a great country and the First Amendment says it all.
Kane B., 10, Alabama

To be an American means you have the right and freedom to do what you want. It is great to be an American.
Whitley S., 11, Alabama

When I think about September 11, 2001, I walk up and down my neighborhood waving an American flag. On September 11, 2002, I will wear an American shirt to school.
Matt L., 12, Alabama

To be an American is great, because I have freedom of speech; I can go to school to get an education; I have a great family; and you can go where- ever you want to.
Ciara W., 10, Alabama

To me being an American means to be free. America is very special to me and my family. I would give anything for my country!
Sarah B., 11, Alabama

It means being special. Everyone is different and has a different personality. So you can be Italian, Mexican, or Irish, and still be an American. So be yourself.
Rachel P., 10, Alabama

I think being an American is having freedom, the Bill of Rights, and just one person can make a difference in America.
Jillian D., 10, Alabama

I love AMERICA because I have so many rights!! I love having freedom of speech, the freedom of voting, and the freedom of being your own individual. I love being able to have your own religious beliefs. I like that we have a democracy. I love being an American for these reasons and more!!!!!!!!!!!
Krista G., 10, Alabama

I think it means to support your family, community, and your state. And you could help your school by picking up trash and different things.
Justin B., 10, Alabama

I think that it means to support your community by doing things for it. You could join a trash pickup. You could donate money to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and many other things. You could join Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts and do things with them. But the most important thing is to allow freedom, meaning that people should allow other cultures and religions to be with your own culture.
Eugene D., 10, Alabama

Being an American to me means many things like being able to speak your mind; attend the church you want to attend; celebrate the holidays you want to celebrate; and be a slave to no one. September 11 has proved that all the above are true here in America, and we should all be very thankful to be Americans. Peace!
Sarai B., 11, Oregon

To be an American means more than good restaurants, burgers, fries, and chicken nuggets. It means to have faith and to have trust in every American around you. It doesn't matter what color you are. You are an American. It doesn't matter what you wear. What it means to be an American is more than what you think...because I will live my life ...my way. GOD BLESS THE U.S!
Nilam V., 10, South Carolina

To be an American. Many take this phrase too lightly others, too strict. Being an American does not mean that you go to baseball games and eat hot dogs, but to live your life out to the fullest, not just waving around a flag every day. Being an American is to help another, whether it be Polish or Chinese or Afghan or Muslim. Being an American means helping your sworn enemy, even if you do not wish, but you shall help with dignity and pride. Being American means that you capture the true essence of every being, from the simplest little flower to the most-beautiful person in the world. Being American means to be united as one, under whatever deity you worship, and to be able to depend, rely, and give hope to each other. Because being American does not just mean living in America, every person has a part of being an American in them, deep inside, embedded, until they wish to release that piece, and share it with the world. That is what a true American is.
Jonathan B., 12, Hawaii

To be an American is the greatest thing in the world. We have freedom and liberty. We also have a very diverse country which means we are stronger because we have to learn all the different ways of living. I am very lucky to be an American.
Morgan A., 11, Kentucky

Click here to send your own comments on what it means to be an American.

Traits of an American

American lawyer, Ed Koch once said “Stereotypes lose their power when the world is found to be more complex than the stereotype would suggest. When we learn that individuals do not fit the group stereotype, then it begins to fall apart.” Stereotypes made towards Americans, like “fattest country in the world” or “lazy” couldn’t be further from the definition of a true American. There are many definitions of what it means to be an American. Therefore.. LEAVE THIS FOR NOW AND COME BACK AFTER YOU DID THE BIGGER THINGS ( People have a fixed idea on immigrants and “the migrants are taking our jobs” they drive down wages” they are costing our country money, “they are only here for the benefits” ) Usually, when the words “American” or “to be American” come to mind, some people may see it as being able to have hope or a dream, a dream that could only be obtained in America. Being an American ultimately means that one is offered freedom as a given right and multiple opportunities through hard work.

In America when freedom is given to those who need it, a door to new chances open up. America, known as the land of opportunity, the country that draws attention to many, calls to others with the promise of freedom. Our National Anthem declares that the United States is “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” In Emma Lazarus’s poem, “The New Colossus,” she mentions a “golden door.” Gold is obviously a precious metal, and if this door is made of gold leading to a place, it can be inferred that it will lead to a new place to a start of a better life than they had before. What’s so life-changing about what lies behind this golden door? “The New Colossus” talks about immigrants coming to the United States and by making that move, they were presented with a second chance but most importantly, economic opportunity. Many of these newcomers came expecting to enhance themselves in ways that were not possible if they had stayed and not moved forward. This would have been seen as very precious to the immigrants. Therefore, in this poem the “golden door” is the start to various opportunities that were not possible in Europe but could be found in the United States.

However, hard work is needed in order to be able to achieve better opportunities. All immigrants, from the moment they step foot into this country, are offered the most basic opportunities. Unfortunately, residents of the United States tend to stereotype immigrants as intruders or even job-snatchers which shows how easy it is to forget how America was built on back-breaking labor. In “America and I”, the author Anzia Yezierska talks about her first job in America and the difficulties she faced: “My own money. Money to buy a new shirt on my back- shoes on my feet. Maybe yet an American dress and hat…’Wages? Money?’ the four eyes turned into hard stone as they looked me up and down. ‘Haven’t you had a comfortable bed to sleep? And three good meals a day? You’re only a month here.”(Yezierska 19) Although she worked for a month and had a job, she still wasn’t paid and was looked down on even after her hard work. Immigrants like Anzia Yezierska are willing to sacrifice their bodies to do work that Americans can’t or won’t do. To earn money it took sweat, effort, it was a 5000-calorie-a-day work, done by immigrants, prisoners, and slaves.

Seeing that immigrants did lots of work he word freedom has a magical connotation to it. Those immigrants came to America for it. It was their desire to be free in a land of opportunity. It was what they came after.
So what my idea was, was this: we can show that immigrants get a better pay after enduring all those days of hard work-kind of like after day by day, hard work pays of and you can use that money on whatever, because america is a free country, explaining freedom. That’s my idea so far to replace slavery for this paragraph.

0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *