How do Words, Symbols and Rituals express the American Creed?
There are many different objects and ideas that represent America. They can bring us all together in turbulent times and ensure the support of each other during these difficult periods. These symbols stand for all American beliefs, freedom and equality being two of the many privileges that American people share. Words, symbols and rituals can greatly express the American creed and what it means to be an American.
Words such as freedom, hope, and opportunity greatly embody the beliefs of the American people. As citizens of the United States, we are all entitled to freedom. The Constitution states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”(aclu.org). It is a privilege that we take for granted and something that other countries don’t have. Opportunity ties into freedom. America is described as the “land of opportunity” and viewed this way by immigrants. They come to America looking for different opportunities and a different way of living. Maybe they are hoping for more economic stability and a better job, or possibly fleeing their own country. Not only immigrants view America as opportunistic. As American citizens, we all have the same rights and are free to go into whatever profession we choose, have our own opinions and ideas and many other things, no matter what race, gender, and other features. The word hope also expresses the American creed. All Americans have hope that something they desire will come true. Whether it be for a better living situation, or an aspired profession, anyone can hope this comes true. Along with hope, hard work and perseverance can achieve success. Additionally, anyone wanting to come to America for a better lifestyle, would hope that they could find a good job and support themselves and their family (hope also ties into opportunity).
Symbols can also explicit the American creed. The American flag is seen almost everywhere; schools, police stations, post offices and many other places. It is the ultimate symbol of America. The stars represent the fifty states and the thirteen stripes represent the original thirteen colonies. The colors also epitomize what America stands for. The red stands for hardiness (ability to endure difficult times) and valour (courage), the white stands for purity and innocence while the blue stands for vigilance (constant lookout for danger), perseverance and justice (colonialflag.com). Another symbol of the United States in the national bird, the bald eagle. This beautiful and powerful bird represents freedom (due to to its unlimited freedom the bird has), strength and skill. It was chosen as the national bird because of its , “long life, great strength and majestic looks” (baldeagleinfo.com). These are all characteristics that the 1784 congress wanted America to have (history.com). The bald eagle symbol is seen on many coins, such as the quarter, and various stamps.
Certain rituals can help us understand the American Creed and what it means to be American. Citizenship ceremonies, are a prime example of this. During a citizenship ceremony, immigrants pledge an oath (Oath of Allegiance) to the US and then become a citizen (uscis.gov). It is the final step to becoming a US citizen. The Pledge of Allegiance is also in a way a ritual. At school, students do it every morning. It is pledging your loyalty and commitment to this country. Both of these rituals are examples of committing to this country as an American and being loyal to it.
Words, symbols and rituals demonstrate the american creed due to their meanings and through their actions. Freedom is something that is very special and a privilege that all Americans have. People in the US have the ability to learn, be who they want to be, and do what they want (so long as it’s legal), because of the opportunities and the freedom we are given. Symbols like the flag and our national bird, the bald eagle, symbolize freedom and all of what america stands for. Rituals can connect us with values, such as the importance of being an American, especially through Citizenship ceremonies, where immigrants become citizens. Words, symbols, and rituals demonstrate the american creed greatly due to their meanings.
Bald Eagle, US National Emblem - American Bald Eagle Information, www.baldeagleinfo.com/eagle/eagle9.html.
“Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America.” 23.11 Cuban Adjustment Act Cases. | USCIS, www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/naturalization-test/naturalization-oath-allegiance-united-states-america.
Nix, Elizabeth. “How Did the Bald Eagle Become America's National Bird?” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 25 Feb. 2015, www.history.com/news/how-did-the-bald-eagle-become-americas-national-bird.
“Symbolism of the Red, White, and Blue.” Colonial Flag, www.colonialflag.com/symbolism-of-the-red-white-and-blue/.
“The United States Bill of Rights: First 10 Amendments to the Constitution.” American Civil Liberties Union, Aclu, www.aclu.org/united-states-bill-rights-first-10-amendments-constitution.