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What Does It Mean to Me to Be An American

Updated on March 17, 2018
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is a volunteer at the CCNY Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. As of 2/2020, Jack has over 100,000 views.


It is good from time to time to stop and reflect on our past and who we are and what does it mean to be an American.

- Mar. 2018


Where should I begin? How do we define who we are as a people? Obviously we are a diverse group of people who came together and formed a nation over 200 years ago. That process is on going and we are still a nation of immigrants. Yet, there is some common bond that holds us together in times of trouble and it comes out when the world is in crisis. What is this bond? that make us unique and exceptional?

Let me start by saying I am a first generation immigrant. I came to America when I was 10 years old. I consider myself to be an American, a naturalized citizen but a full fledged American.

I learned English, I attended public schools in NYC. I went to a public University - CCNY. I worked in a large US International Corporation for most of my career. I raised a family, paid taxes, bought a home and saved for retirememt. I voted in elections and volunteered my time at various organizations and I attend church services regularly.

That is a brief summary of who I am. What do I believe? And what is my world view?

Those are guided and formed from my education and by my mentors. I learned our history, and read about our struggles as a nation. Through wars and disasters and economic ups and down, I learned what is unique about our country as compared to our neighbors and our adversaries.

Here is my world view:

I believe in God, the Creator...

I believe man was put on this earth to be fruitful and multiply and to be good stewards of our environment and the animal Kingdom.

I believe human nature and how it influences our behavior and our social network.

I believe in freedom and equality...and the unalienable rights bestowed on us.

I believe in capitalism and the free enterprise system as the best way to prosperity.

I believe in free will and self determination and in the individual of self reliance.

I believe a system of living based on three pillars of support, government, Church and family.

What is an American?

  • We supoort the Constitution
  • We help our neighbors in need
  • We believe in law and order
  • We believe in a strong national defense as the sure way to peace
  • We are a community that share common goals
  • We believe in justice
  • We have a sense of right and wrong and a conscience
  • We are charitable and help the poor and the infirmed
  • We are adventurous
  • We are innovators

Some Common Shared Experiences...

The US Constitution.

The flag.

The pledge of allegiance.

The National Anthem.

The oath of office.

America the Beautiful - song

Lyrics by Kathrine Lee Bates 1895

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Lyrics of America by Samuel Francis Smith


My country, 'tis of thee,

Sweet land of liberty,

Of thee I sing;

Land where my fathers died,

Land of the pilgrims' pride,

From ev'ry mountainside

Let freedom ring!


My native country, thee,

Land of the noble free,

Thy name I love;

I love thy rocks and rills,

Thy woods and templed hills;

My heart with rapture thrills,

Like that above.


Let music swell the breeze,

And ring from all the trees

Sweet freedom's song;

Let mortal tongues awake;

Let all that breathe partake;

Let rocks their silence break,

The sound prolong.


Our fathers' God to Thee,

Author of liberty,

To Thee we sing.

Long may our land be bright,

With freedom's holy light,

Protect us by Thy might,

Great God our King.


The unique American experience is no matter where you came from, what race, religion or creed, or heritage, you can assimilate to our culture and adopt our ideals and our government and our freedom and our economic system and reach your potential.

No other country in the rest of the world can make that claim.

If you are lucky enough to be born here, you are better off than 95% of the world population.

© 2018 Jack Lee


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    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Tsad, a little more detail on my experience with the writers group...

      My motto is talk is better than silence...

    • tsadjatko profile image

      The Logician 

      2 years ago from now on

      Really, respected you to your face - behind your back they still are rolling their eyes when you walk in the room. Believe me, I know exactly the type.

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      By the way, here is one of my other article that was read at the writers group which generated some strong reactions..

      I thought it was common sense and yet it created quite a stir...

      However, at the end, they respected me to voicing my opinion.

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Tsad, on the contrary, this group is very talented and I find my writing skills are much improved. I have been with the group about 2 years. In general, the moderator, a librarian, try to keep the discussion focused on the style rather than content. Once in a while, some will creep in and I am fine with the critique. In fact, I feel I am making some in roads by presenting my case from a conservative view points. They may not agree but I can see it makes some of them think and not just dismiss me or my piece... So far, I have submited about 10 pieces of writing and 3 of them are considered political. The rest are just parts of my autobiography and my volunteer work to help my alma point is, if we don’t discuss these issues in an open forum, how will we ever solve these problems?

    • tsadjatko profile image

      The Logician 

      2 years ago from now on

      A writer's group? Yeah stay away from that, Jack. I find liberal writer's always need to have a group. They need accolades and of course a diverse group is not going to be patting them on their back for the liberal garbage they write so you wind up with a group of liberals - won't be long Jack till they want you gone, but they won't let on to you that's how they feel because liberals can never be honest.

      I've never met a writer's group that was all conservatives because conservatives don't need to be told what they write is good, they have conviction and would rather share their work with opposing views than preach to the choir.

      You'll see Jack, eventually you will leave that group because you are a conservative.

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      I might add it created some controversy among the group since I live in a very liberal county and most of the other writers are liberals and only two of us are Conservative. How a hub about American exceptionalism can generate such reaction is beyond me? They did not agree we are an exceptional nation. They agree more or less with Barack Obama...

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      The comments I received were from my writers group and not posted here on Hubpages...

    • tsadjatko profile image

      The Logician 

      2 years ago from now on

      I read your article on American Exceptionalism but there were and are no comments on that hub page =

      You have several hub pages on America, were you referring to one of the others?

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Thank you TSAD. I wrote another article about American Exceptionalism... a while back and I was surprised by the reaction of some Americans that were born here. It seems they never got it.

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Louis, You are most welcome. Come see the natural beauty and the kindness of people...

    • tsadjatko profile image

      The Logician 

      2 years ago from now on

      Jack, so encouraging to see you express your pride in America as a first generation immigrant and what it means to you to be an American! I hope other legal first generation immigrants chime in here with more encouraging comments about our country in agreement with your hub page.

      I think often about the sacrifices and blood that has been shed over the centuries to create and preserve America. It seems only right that there be some sort of sacrifice to come to America legally and it seems so disrespectful of our heritage to steal your way in here illegally as so many attempt to do.

      Glad to have you as a fellow citizen, Jack - keep America great!

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      2 years ago from Norfolk, England

      I do like America, I'd love to visit the States for a long holiday.


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