America the Beautiful? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

December 29, 2010
“America the Beautiful?” by Emily B. was inspirational and thought-provoking. Indeed, America is known as the “land of the free” and a country of liberty and democracy, but as the poet rightfully points out, what about the Trail of Tears we forced upon the Cherokee Indians, the Japanese-Americans we so wrongfully held hostage and America's shameful mistake of enslaving Africans. She wonders: is America really about freedom and equality, a country for the people by the people?

As the poem progresses, Emily realizes that America is not perfect – it makes mistakes but learns from them. She looks past all the bad choices that mar our country's history, deep within this blanket of mistakes, and sees a shining country with a bright future. I began to realize this too.

Never before have I been so provoked and intrigued by a poem. It made me question my views about this country. I have finally found the answer to the question all social studies teachers ask: Why is history important? Well, this poem has provided the answer. History, especially our mistakes, shapes our country and changes our future decisions.

Mistakes help us become a better nation. We the people make up this country, and through these mistakes, we are bound together in “fixing our mistakes. Righting our wrongs. Making apologies.” This is what makes America, truly America.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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