What does it mean to be an American? To me, being American is all about following your dream, living your life to the fullest, and being a truly good person. In a country where anyone can be anything, it’s your right and your duty to make the most of yourself with all the opportunities available.

     From the time I could understand I have been taught that I can be anything that I want to be, and in some ways, that is absolutely terrifying. I can follow my dream or any wild hair I wish, because I am free to do so in America, there is nobody to hold me down but myself in the land of opportunity. This freedom to achieve rests at the core of the American identity. America was created so that the beaten down and broken could succeed free of tyranny.

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     When I wake up in the morning I know that I’ve been blessed to wake safely in my home, with food to eat, and clothes to wear. As much as a shame that it is, there are people in America that do not have these luxuries, it is our duty as Americans to be good people. And to help those in need. A man came to me one day asking for help. It was going to hard freeze and he was homeless, he needed a way to stay out of the rain, but I had no cash. I gave him a sleeping bag that I keep for camping, I know that I could afford another, but he couldn’t afford a room. I could see in his eyes that he was telling the truth. This old black man had the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. Despite facing such adversity, the soul and cheerfulness remained. Sometimes we all just need a little help, and as Americans we owe it to each other.

     Of all the years I will spend on planet earth, I have already spent nearly 20 of them. A short time in the grand scheme of things, but roughly one quarter of my lifetime. There are so many things to do in life and I know that I will never do. In spite of that fact, I can and will live my life to the fullest extent possible in my time on this rock. I believe that it is my duty as an American to take advantage of the freedoms that I have been granted.

   Countless people have died in the pursuit of freedom and happiness. Countless have fought to keep that freedom that was achieved at such a cost. It is our duty as Americans to honor their achievement and sacrifice. To me. That it what it means to be American. Live our lives to the fullest, be good people, and follow our dreams.

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