The American Dream: What It Means to Be American

February 4, 2013
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There have been many instances in my own life that have shaped my view on what it means to be American, some good and some bad, but all of them are important. One of the most influential events that I was fortunate enough to experience was the inauguration of President Obama. My family and I traveled to stay with relatives in Washington D.C. for the incredible event. While we were on Library Mall with the hundreds of thousands of fellow Americans who had traveled to see the president be sworn into office, I felt a very strong sense of community. To truly be an American is to be able to feel connected on a personal level to your countrymen. Even if you don’t agree with their views, you must still acknowledge the fact that whether you like it or not, you share a connection with the people around you. I had similar feelings during my time spent at the various Wisconsin protests. The fact that so many people could unite for a cause they all believe in was such a powerful and overwhelming feeling, I believe this is one of the main aspects of being an American, and it will help me to get along better with people who have differing views from my own. This is a key quality to have while trying to grow and mature as a person and will help in many tough situations. Many times I have seen the sad sight of impoverished people living on the streets, but I have also seen people donating their time, resources, and compassion for those in need. Generosity is such a key role in the life of an American, and I personally believe that you cannot be completely happy unless you try your hardest to make those around you happy. As Mark Twain said, “The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”

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