As Memorial Day was approaching this year, I thought of the real meaning and what the spirit of the day was established to represent. It’s certainly not about the massive sales, barbecues, and pool parties. It’s also not a day to thank a veteran, or worse, act like the day doesn’t exist. It’s a day to respect those who gave all and the all that gave some, and remember why they did (and continue to) – American pride.
American pride has very individual and personal meanings to everyone. Some stem from experiences or decisions, some from heritage and upbringing. Many of our military men and women serve because they are proud of this country, want to make it better, and ensure we have the independence to voice our opinions and feelings on American pride.
So, I asked our TRW staff what American pride meant to them and what it means to have a military that serves to protect our way of life. These are their responses.
Nick: American Pride means to be proud of your country. This does not mean to be proud of every single thing that has occurred within your country. But to be proud of every principle your country stands upon. This certainly can and has been applied inconsistently, but the freedom to have the principles that have increased human value in the evolution of society in the history of this world is without question due to America and the American Constitutional System.
To have a country with a strong military who protects this life means that those who are in charge still value the American Constitution and believes that they should fight to protect that document, as it is that document that protects and values human life above any system of government and protects each life equally. To have a strong military means that you are willing to protect this system with all of your might.
Alex: American pride means being grateful for the rights that the constitution guarantees, and thankful to the men and women who serve to protect them. It means being proud of your country and being humble at the same time because we acknowledge that if others didn’t give their lives for the country, we wouldn’t have the freedom to enjoy it.
Joe: American pride, to me, is not just boasting our independence and people, but also having an understanding of it. Knowing problems the rest of the world may face, but I do not. Having a strong military is a big factor in that, but it’s also important to recognize the feeling of comfort and protection. And holding onto that security blanket is human nature.
Gabe: I think of the way our country functions at its core. First, the people. We have become such a melting pot of diversity and progressive thinking. We are allowed to think freely and speak loudly. Then, I think of all of the moving parts involved in allowing us to have a thriving economy, how our financial system is nothing shy of a modern marvel. America enables its citizens to reach their full potential. Our military enables us to walk in both freedom and safety. I know we have threats left and right, waiting like a lion to pounce, but our military allows me to rest assured that if we are threatened, we will be protected. If we are hit, we will hit back harder. Ultimately, the way our country functions allows me to trust that I am taken care of.
Allison: As someone whose brother and grandfather have served in the U.S. Navy, it’s a very personal topic seeing the things they have sacrificed. It’s humbling that someone I use to play hide and seek with as a child has put himself in harms’ way to protect me and my rights – I could not be prouder of, and grateful for the both of them.
Casey: American Pride means respecting the ideas laid forth by our founders. American pride is standing up to tyranny in whatever capacity you can manage, whether it is at home or abroad.
The military ensures that the nation we reside in is protected from threats to our way of life and our ideals. This protection means that I can freely pursue my dreams without having to worry about a war in my neighborhood.
Doug: Coming from a family that is not very well off, I have always been blessed to know that my future was not decided by where I come. American’s possess the unique capability of deciding their future. As well, as someone who plans to become a pastor, I must recognize how blessed I am to live in a country that has religious freedom. Many governments deny this basic right to their people. At times countries even kill anyone choosing a religion separate from that of their government. Having traveled to several different countries, I have always valued what it is to be American and call the United States my home. Having the freedoms that we do is what makes this country great.
We would not have these freedoms without the service of the men and women of the U.S. Military. These men and women have sacrificed everything in their livelihood to serve our country; working to preserve our freedoms and to gain freedoms for others. Whether one agrees or not with whatever the government is doing, all Americans should be ever grateful to those who were willing to give up their freedoms to work for ours. Many have even given their lives in battle to fight for what we so often take for granted. To those who have served, thank you.
Sergio: It means not having to fear the unjust and devastating oppression I see in foreign countries. It also means I get to exercise my freedom towards building up my community of friends, neighbors and relatives, and not be distracted or prevented by political or criminal obstruction. It also serves as reminder to not take the rights and privileges I receive in America for granted since I’m reminded they come at a high cost.
American pride is rich in freedoms not every nation’s citizens get to enjoy or experience. Therefore, I see it as a way of looking back at the defining moments that made this country unified, independent, and whole; leading us to strive for a future that retains the heartbeat of the American people.
Seth: As a U.S. citizen, I am thankful for the freedoms that my country provides. I am also thankful for the U.S. military for guarding the U.S., and its allies, against enemies of democratic ideals. Without the military, I believe the U.S., and democracies worldwide, would be significantly less secure, and possibly less free.
Susan: American Pride means taking time to appreciate the greatness of our country and showing your pride in your behaviors and your attitude.
I’m thankful for the military men and women who serve and protect or who have died doing so, as well as their families who have sacrificed to support them.
Michael: American pride is being proud of our ideals and believing in the American way. It’s believing that our God-given freedoms are special and worth preserving. It’s believing that America, though imperfect, is a good nation that has enriched the quality of life for its citizens, allowing more people than ever in history to realize their God-given potential, and whose democratic vision has inspired countries around the world, impacting mankind in a positive way.
I’m grateful for the many men and women who have risked and sacrificed life and limb to protect those freedoms, helping to ensure the American way continues for generations to come. They’ve laid down their lives for our sakes, and they deserve our deepest thanks, honor, and appreciation.
Kaitlin: American pride is the feeling I get when I see groups of people rejoicing in the celebration of the Fourth of July and throwing fireworks into the sky. Being an American citizen gives you the feeling that you are part of a bigger whole. I take pride in the fact that although there are many different kinds of people in this country when it comes down to it, we are willing to support and fight for each other’s rights. Most importantly, my American pride is what drives me to be as successful as possible because of the belief that this country is where dreams are achieved.
To live in a country where there is a military who protects our way of life, I am provided with a sense of security. I know that were my life ever harmed, this country would take the responsibility of protecting it, and if need be, avenging it. America is one of the biggest military powerhouses in the world. Knowing this, I feel like I can live my life freely. I am free of the threats many others face in less secure countries. I am thankful for this and use this knowledge to motivate myself to achieve my own American Dream.
Hope SGT, Army National Guard: American pride means that we are so thankful for the country that we live in, that we strive to do our best to make it even better. It means we live with honor and integrity. We fight for what we believe in. It means that sometimes we sacrifice things we want so others can have what they need. We work to ensure that people are free to fight for what they believe, even if I disagree with them. And when we disagree, we disagree respectfully and work to find the truth rather than to quiet those with whom we disagree.
“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” Thomas Jefferson
What does it mean to you to have a country with a military who protects our way of life? It’s awesome! Military members sacrifice so much, it inspires me to live life sacrificially and look out for the greater good above my own.
It is a privilege to be part of our military history. Seeing the different types of people who join and the way they handle the adversity that serving the military puts them through has definitely changed who I am. The government has full right to take away any ounce of freedom I have. They can send me where they want, tell me how to dress, speak, and do my hair. Seeing what life looks like without freedom has made me so thankful for the things that civilians take advantage of. It has significantly grown my character, patience, and gratitude.
We all have a different opinion and view of American pride built from different experiences, different walks of life. You don’t find that everywhere, and it’s why being an American should bring about a feeling of pride. That is what makes America beautiful. That is what soldiers have sacrificed to maintain and uphold, so that we all can live in peace and safety among each other, with the ability to have those diversified views and have the security of speaking those views freely and openly.