Rachel Roy

My heart beams with pride when I reflect upon the greatness of America.  Every time I stand
and recite the Pledge of Allegiance after the morning bell, and every time I hear the Star
Spangled Banner before an evening baseball game, my heart swells.  It swells because of
the excellent ideals this country was founded on, it marvels at the accomplishments of
thousands of people, and it celebrates the opportunities granted to every willing soul.  I am
proud to be an American for these reasons, and I am proud to
know that I share in this greatness.

What causes you to stand every time the National Anthem begins to ring aloud?  Is it pride
that pushes you onto your feet and lets your heart soak in the splendor of that rich song?  I
stand when I hear that melodious ode to America, because I have the choice.  I am proud of
my country and I love it for the freedom it ensures me.  Every time I see the American Flag
fluttering smoothly in the summer wind, I smile with appreciation.  I know I
am in the land where every child is guaranteed an education and its people have resolved
to “leave no child behind.”  I know I stand on the same soil as did Rosa Parks, who chose
to demand the freedoms she deserved.  I always remember where I am when I hear our
country’s thunderous anthem, and when I see those broad stripes flapping in the wind.

America’s heart is found in the homes of every family and every American.  That heart
beats for every child living with one parent and on one income.  It pumps for the college
student studying to pass final exams, and it thumps for the elderly as they leave an imprint
on the upcoming generation.  E Pluribus Unum is our country’s motto and states that
America as many is one.  We are all one people and one family.  My admiration for America
intensified after the events of September 11th, 2001 when millions of people joined
together and welcomed wounded hearts into strange arms.  In the aftermath of Hurricane
Katrina, the hearts of America beat as one in hope of assisting those impoverished by the
storm.  My eyes sparkle at the recollection of these memories, because it reminds me
of the true greatness of America.

The many accomplishments of the American people are enough to deserve every accolade
and praise. I am moved by the determination of our previous presidents including Abraham
Lincoln, who ended slavery, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who relieved the Great Depression, and
John F. Kennedy, who challenged us to land on the moon.  Yet, ordinary people inspire
pride as well.  I am impressed when I see a working mother attending college, when I read
in the local newspaper about firefighters saving a life, and when I hear a high school
valedictorian speak about the prospective future during a graduation ceremony.  These
small events fill my heart with pride because they are the core of what America is.  America
is the people, and I am proud to be one of those people.  I am proud that I have the
potential to achieve these same honors and goals.

America is the land of equal opportunity and potential.  The Statue of Liberty stands
welcoming thousands of immigrants into this country, and beams invitingly sharing the idea
of the American Dream.  Every time an immigrant is awarded American citizenship, the true
of spirit of America ignites.  I am proud that I am included into the mix of millions of other
people striving toward their own goal:  a writer seeking the perfect story, a singer belting
his heart’s song, a scientist working toward the cure for cancer, a student studying for her
first A, and a parent working to support a new family are all examples of the meaning of
America.  Whenever I feel a folded dollar bill in my hand, I remember the effort every one of
us must exert to accomplish our dreams.  Anyone has the potential to change the world,
and in America everyone has the chance to actualize that potential and turn dreams into
I am proud of America.  I am proud of all the people who gather to celebrate this glorious
country and remember its true meaning.  From the child playing with fiery sparklers to the
old veteran saluting Old Glory, I am proud of you.  I am proud to be numbered among you
and to know that I am a part of that one made of many.  I am proud to be an American and I
will honor and celebrate this country’s awe-inspiring ideals, accomplishments, and dreams.  
Be proud of this country, because it is your country.  Be proud of America, and be proud of
everything it stands for.  Always remember that it is the people who make America great.  
You are that people, and you are America, so be proud of your country and of yourself.