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What Is It to Be an American


When my family moved from the Philippines to America, my world suddenly opened up to experiences that, before then, had only occurred in my life as fantasies. I suddenly found myself free of a national dictator – President Marcos – and could essentially do as I liked. And while at it, I could rest assured that my personal rights were safeguarded by an impregnable Bill of Rights. Security was ample, but if I ever felt paranoid, I could legally have some weapons within my house for protection. And ultimately, I was now right smack in the land of hamburgers, ice creams and chocolate candies. It was a dream comes true.

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The American culture is diverse. This was one of the facts that immediately struck me upon our settlement there. Having come from a more or less uniform society, I suddenly had to contend with all sorts of people, from literally all around the world. It was an illuminating experience, since now I no longer had a cultural background from which to evaluate the people around. Rather, every person was a unique case, to be judged on an individual basis. But from all these diverse groupings, I’ve come to learn a lot about human nature, and wouldn’t trade these gems of knowledge for anything.

And yet, even with all this diversity, I observed an almost incredible unity between fellow Americans. Your background doesn’t matter. What matters is your present. If you are presently an American, then you are entitled to your own space. Everybody will come rallying in your support should this personal liberty be threatened. And in the face of a national tragedy like the 9/11, Americans become one body and mind, and emerge stronger. I realized that being American is not about tolerating diversity, but embracing it (balancingtheissues, 2006).

In America, I have come to understand the meaning of “working towards an end”. I have realized that nobody really cares what you do with yourself, as long as you pull your load along. People are more interested in results than in the mid-distance trivialities. This mindset has given scope for all sorts of innovations, and the average American spirit is upbeat about accomplishing any feat (Mencken, N.D.). Yet, while they are at it, Americans tend to take everything to the extremes. Any accomplishment is not good enough unless it is the best in the world. And so on. I have realized that Americans don’t have limitations, if they really put their minds into something.

I have come to really admire the fervent patriotism displayed by the Americans all around me. This patriotism is almost religious. It is one of the traits that bind all Americans together, regardless of their background (Frederick, 1987). National commemorations are celebrated with such eagerness that most foreigners are puzzled. They wonder how a people of such mixed origins can ever even have a common ground for celebrations. But that’s part of being an American.


American patriotism so enthralled me that I eventually joined the military and served the United States for 25 honorable years. I consider my service in the military to be amongst my best years, since every day was self fulfilling. I recently retired, but treasure all the memories from my stay there. My patriotism and love for America was cemented during my service in the military. And, having had a unique life in which I observed America initially as a foreigner and finally as a citizen, I can say this with conviction: America is the best.


Balancingtheissues (2006) Being an American. Web. 

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Frederick Edwords (1987) The religious character of American Patriotism. Web. 

Mencken, H.L. (N.D.) On being American. 2009. Web. 

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"What Is It to Be an American." StudyCorgi, 14 Nov. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "What Is It to Be an American." November 14, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "What Is It to Be an American." November 14, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "What Is It to Be an American." November 14, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'What Is It to Be an American'. 14 November.

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