What It Means to Be an American
My piece is about what it means to be an American in relation to "The Pledge of Allegiance" by George Thatcher Balch. My essay describes the loyalty, pride, and nationalism I, as an American, feel when reciting the Pledge.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. I have recited this pledge every day for the past eleven years. When I say it, a feeling of patriotism and honor rejoice within me. But then, I think to myself, what does it mean to be an American? That is the question that we, as Americans, face living in this vast country. What does it really mean? Is it limitless opportunity of success and prosperity, or is it the freedom for which this great nation has fought for? This pledge of loyalty and respect summarizes what we, as Americans, want for this great nation.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…” The beginning line of the pledge. It represents the reason for our devotion. When I see the flag wavering in the sky, I see a symbol of our pure nationalism that makes America “America”. The colors of purity, valor, and justice have been sewed into that monumental flag that we have fought for; and it is our priority to protect our country from all enemies.
“…and to the Republic for which it stands…” As a kid, this line of the pledge made me think of the flag as blanket, surrounding and protecting us from harm. As an American, we must show respect to the flag and those who bravely risk their lives for it. Furthermore, it symbolizes our loyalty to the government. A government that is run by the people, for the people. A government that does its’ best to keep America safe from all foreign and domestic enemies.
“…one nation, under God…” That this nation, our nation, may be sheltered by a divine being. This ONE nation. We are a country filled with diversity and we celebrate each other’s differences. We are a nation of togetherness, and we stand united in our belief of freedom. America symbolizes uniqueness. People all over the world come to America seeking a new life, and to taste that sense of truly being “free”. Here, you have the power to become whatever you want to be. In America, you get to choose your fate, your destiny.
“…indivisible…” That single word: indivisible. A word that truly defines Americans. Invincible, strong, and courageous. We are a country that cannot be defeated. We the people are a shield that protects and defends this nation. Even through the worst of times, we persevere and get even stronger than before.
“…for liberty and justice for all” All those ideals, from integrity to freedom, is what we, as Americans, protect. This last segment of the pledge to our nation represents the concept that every man, woman, and child living in America is free and given the rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.
This vision, that the American Creed portrays, can be achieved. If we can just find a way to put aside our differences, whether its race, religion, or different interests, we can become a true role model for the whole world. By standing together as one we, as Americans, can become that “shining city upon a hill”, and achieve our goal of unity and equality for all.
United States Declaration of Independence
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
John Winthrop’s “City Upon a Hill”
The Pledge of Allegiance by George Thatcher Balch