Scholastic News Online Scholastic News Online is a free resource with breaking news and highlights from the print magazine. Available for gradesScholastic News magazine brings high-interest current events and nonfiction to millions of classrooms each week. Additionally, our subscribers have FREE access to Scholastic News Interactive, an exclusive online learning tool featuring digital editions, videos, interactive features, differentiated articles, and much more. What does it mean to be an American?
People left a lot of good responses that helped me to finally write the post below that I submitted for my entry. When the question is asked, "What does America mean to you? Compared to other countries, we are still but a babe in the woods at years old but in that time the United States of America has grown from a fledgling upstart nation of only 13 colonies who dared to defy the most powerful king in the world to a country made up of 50 states and 6 major territories throughout the world who bow before no king.
When the Second Continental Congress of the United States convened in Philadelphia in May offollowing the Battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts, the 56 delegates from the 13 colonies were charged with the task of directing the nation in its goal to become an independent country free from the rule of the British Empire.
It was a daunting task that no doubt seemed impossible given the power and wealth of England but the Declaration of Independence was drafted and signed, a Continental Army was formed, and a patriotic fire burned in the hearts of thousands.
In spite of the overwhelming odds and the loss of 25, patriot lives, America emerged a free nation dedicated to the proposition "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
America has always been a nation filled with men with strong ideas and beliefs when it comes to independence and individual rights and having fought the British - not once but twice - to maintain that freedom, it became imperative to keep the nation united as one and not split into two separate countries.
In his first inaugural address on March 4th, the newly elected President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, implored "We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.
Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
One needs only to step onto the hallowed grounds of one of the great battlefields like Gettysburg or Antietam or Shiloh to understand how important that freedom was to both sides. That the United States of America stayed as one country and eventually became the most powerful nation in the world is a testament to those men who fought and died for what they believed in.
We have the right to not only want a better life but to pursue it; we have the right to question our leaders and replace them with better ones; we have the right to reach for the ideal, maybe fall short, and find another way to achieve it.
We have more rights than most citizens of most other countries and yet we take those rights for granted and fail to appreciate them and the brave men and women who have died protecting those rights.
In spite of the troubles facing our country I am proud to be an American and a patriot.
I just wish that more people would remember that without having to have two towers fall and thousands of lives be lost but I, for one, still love this country and all that it stands for. A big thank you to all of you who gave me your input on what America means to you - it really helped in shaping this essay and getting me inspired.
I knew it would come in handy at some point!Being an American to me is being free. It also means to be fair. Kaitlyn T., 10, Wisconsin Being an American is about being free and loyal.
It's about having freedom of religion, rights, and justice. It's also about being about yourself. Sarah K., 10, Wisconsin To .
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