Words, symbols and rituals are an important part in the making of America. These patriotic symbols help us as a nation come together but can also divide us as a nation. Everyone in America has their own opinion and their own beliefs, but what makes us special is that we can put these aside and come together as a nation for something we all believe in.
“In God We Trust”; four simple words that hold incredible meaning to the American people. This phrase is on all American currency, and is the phrase we recite when we are lost as a nation. God has always been an integral part of America’s foundation. The main reason our founding fathers wanted to separate from the King of England was to have the ability to worship their God freely. Having “In God We Trust” on our currency, gives Americans a sense of togetherness that we can all come together for the greater good and have trust in God. But many times, this isn’t the case. Even though God is the foundation that the American ideals and principles were based on, many people do not agree with the idea of putting our trust into a God they do not believe in. The division that is caused by this statement on our currency, is that people have free choice of what to believe. Many religions along with agnostics and atheists either believe in a different higher power, or simply do not believe God exists. The statement on our currency is an opposing and oftentimes disputable point for people of different faiths and belief systems. By saying, “We the people,” some feel the founding fathers made them feel like outsiders to a group that is included in the “We” part of the phrase because they do not believe in God. Court cases have been held to remove this phrase from our money, but the Supreme Court has ruled against removal because the phrase is foundational to what has made America the desired country it is today.
The bald eagle is an emblem that stands as one of our national symbols in the United States. It represents great strength and longevity, as well as being recognized for its majestic looks. The bald eagle has unlimited freedom. The Great Seal exhibits a wide-spread eagle, facing front, having on his breast a shield with thirteen perpendicular red and white stripes, surmounted by a blue field with the same number of stars. In his right talon, the eagle holds an olive branch. In his left, he clasps a bundle of thirteen arrows, and in his beak he carries a scroll inscribed with the motto: "E Pluribus Unum." When people think of America, they think of the bald eagle as the main symbol for freedom, courage and strength.
Americans have many different rituals that are an integral part of our families and cultures. Rituals can be anything from eating a certain food at family holidays, to getting together every Sunday night to watch football. One ritual the majority of Americans still hold dear is standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. As a young child, I was taught that when the Pledge was recited, I was to stand up proudly, and put my right hand over my heart. This ritual has been taught to every person that has been born in the United States of America, and to every person that enters the USA. This ritual is a sign of respect we pay to our men and women who fought for our country. As we place our right hand over our heart, we should remember the sacrifices that our military men and women have made to protect us from harm while we enjoy the freedom and protection in this country. When we recite the words, “with liberty and justice for all”, we should focus on the security these six words provide to us as citizens. The pledge serves as our foundation that we are Americans, and have the opportunity for everyone to come together and respect our country.
What makes us a nation that separates us from different nations is our ability to come together and unify in troubled times. Through words, symbols and rituals we can express our patriotism with each other and stand together as a united front.