Tilden S.

  • Mississippi

What does America mean to you?

By Tilden S.
Corinth, Mississippi

I have called America my home for seventeen years and I have been fortunate enough to witness this great country and all it has to offer. The name has long been associated with one word, freedom. It is, after all, the premise on which the founding fathers built the nation.

However, I believe that there is a term which better represents the country and more specifically the people in the country, that term is unity. Despite great diversity and differences in cultural backgrounds, I have seen people come to together to grieve, to celebrate and just for fun. I believe that this ability to unite through adversity is what makes America so special as it enriches our society with knowledge of cultures beyond the bounds of our borders.

What sets America apart is not just its diversity but its embrace of it. America is a true melting pot of cultures from all over the world. From the French influence in Louisiana to Mexican heritage in California, the country converges all them into one place. There is someone from everyone background in America. The real amazing part, however, is how we are able to look past our differences and actually celebrate them rather than hide from them. We are able to appreciate everyones culture through each others art, food and music. This is what sets America apart from other nations. Not only the diversity of culture and the embrace of them.

Rather than turning away from our differences, we celebrate them and recognize that our unique experiences build a community rich in knowledge and culture for generations to come.

Some of the most profound displays of American unity is witnessed in times of tragedy. We come together through tragedies to help and comfort each other through trying times. After Hurricane Katrina devastated, thousands flocked to the Gulf Coast to aide in recovery efforts and even more donated supplies to the ones affected. People came together to help those who lost everything and help them to rebuild and restore their homes and communities. Another example is the events of September 11, 2001, which left the whole nation grieving and in shock. Yet Americans stood strong and comforted each other in trying times. Thousands of first responders risked their lives to save their fellow Americans. These unwavering acts of selflessness and heroism is what contributes to the unity of the country. No matter what happen, Americans make it through the storm and they come out the other side stronger, and more united than before. This unity of the people is further exemplified by our celebrations. Take the Fourth of July, for instance. Its not just a holiday but rather a nationwide celebration of freedom and unity. People from all over gather to watch fireworks, have barbecues, and enjoy time with family and friends. All this in celebration of the day that we gained freedom including freedom of assembly. It truly is a beautiful thing that to celebrate our freedom of assembly, we gather friends and family. This just goes to show the pride that Americans have for their country.

We come together every year to celebrate the anniversary of the country gaining freedom. I am filled with a sense of pride and gratitude to be an American. It has blessed me and countless others with opportunities to learn and grow. It has also taught me the meaning and importance of unity. I know that no matter what happens, I have a community I can turn to for support. I believe that America goes beyond the typical symbol of freedom. It is a symbol of people coming together and enjoying each others company, through thick and thin.