What it Means to Me to Be an American
I knew my father had strong feelings about our country later on in life, but I didn’t really know much about it early on.
I am going to share it with all of you – remember this was originally written in 1955 but it still has a tremendous meaning even today.
Being an American means Democracy. Democracy is a government of the people, by the people, for the people, as Lincoln defined it in his famous Gettysburg Address. But it is more than that. It is a way of thinking, and a way of living. It is the foundation on which our civilization is built, and on which it must continue to rest. It is an American ideal, resulting from inheritance and environment.
Our forefathers made great sacrifices to lay the foundations for our government, which each generation has helped to build. This government is based upon the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity, and cooperation. These ideals represent the American way of life – the democratic way.
Democracy recognizes the importance of the people through representative government. It safeguards and protects them by its laws. It provides them the opportunity to attain whatever success they desire. It offers the condition for a higher standard of living than any other country. More than anything else it stands for freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
These principles of democracy have made our people happier, more progressive, more creative, and more energetic than any other people. A democracy gives us all these advantages and privileges but it also places upon us certain responsibilities. If we are worthy to accept the democratic way of life we must be willing to assume our duty, and help keep it democratic. We young Americans hold the fate of the coming years in our hands. We must work out the future of our country. First of all, we must learn to fully appreciate the many privileges which are ours.
What does democracy mean to me?
Next to the gift of life, it is the greatest of all gifts.
© 1955 Tom Cox
Some points in this piece I don’t agree with completely, maybe it is the strong Conservative and Christian beliefs I have. But whatever it may be I am still glad for now that we have our freedoms to say and do as we wish. I hope you enjoyed this small piece as much as I did.
It is funny how 56 years has gone passed and the meaning is still the same.