To Be American
By: D.H. Harris
A good friend, successful educated 50ish black American born female, told me she didn’t know what it meant to be an American. I was shocked and saddened. However, her statement also motivated
me to plead with parents to make sure their children can say what being an American means to them.
I recall the positive emotions I felt about our country even as a child. It felt special when we said the Pledge of Allegiance and took our Constitution tests. I watched with amazement not only the moon landing but also the school integration marches where American soldiers were there to protect black kids. Years later I visited Gettysburg. It is hard to comprehend the loss of life in the Civil War until you see the rows of graves. America survived that con ict and was reunited. Hearing from friend’s parents and my family about black soldiers ghting in WWII makes me proud.
One of my favorite Americans is Henry Ford- he wanted his workers to be able to a ord the cars they built. That desire re ects the egalitarianism that has always been a part of the American ideal. Every day I appreciate the American worker. I have been to places where things don’t work. When my trash gets picked up, when I see road construction when the crews of power line workers are on site after an electrical failure, I am grateful that these workers and I live in the best country in the world for the working class, especially working women.
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