2001 TLI Scholarship Essay:
What America Means to Me
Honorable Mention: Benjamin Livian,
Great Neck North High School
I think of America as the world's only superpower because it is a leader in almost everything it does. For instance, America's tremendous military strength, vast technology and high standard of living are just a few of the things that make America the most advanced nation in the world. When I look up at our flag, I don't just see red, white, and blue. I see freedom. I see opportunity. I see diversity. In my opinion, the liberties people possess, the chances they have to move ahead in society, and the unity among citizens despite widespread cultural differences all contribute to America's greatness.
People living in the United States have rights only dreamed of by others around the world. We, as Americans, have the freedom to say and write about anything we want. We can practice our religions freely with the knowledge that others will tolerate our beliefs and not suppress them, though they may disagree with them. If we feel that our government is doing something that we don't like, we can protest, thereby expressing our voice about how our political system is run. We can democratically elect our leaders to represent us and make laws for us. When people try to extend their own freedoms by threatening other people's freedoms, that's when our justice system comes into play. The United States believes that all people are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Even people accused of crimes are given certain rights - the right to remain silent, the right to a fair trial, and the right to have an attorney. To me, this just shows that America values every person's life and liberty. Since everyone is guaranteed specific liberties in America, a sense of equality prevails.
America has always been viewed as the land of opportunity because people can become successful through hard work and determination. Throughout America's existence, immigrants from all different countries have journeyed here because of the social mobility that is present in the United States. Many people, including my own father, came to America with little money in their pockets but were able to put themselves through college, find a good job, and raise a family. The "American Dream" is such a beautiful thing because it allows people to set goals for themselves and work diligently to accomplish them. America is a capitalist nation, which means that people do everything in their own self-interest. I believe that this serves as a motivation for everyone to try their best in what it is that they are doing because this is the only way that they can get ahead in life. Unfortunately, some people in America cannot provide for themselves. In order to help these people, the government sponsors such programs as welfare and social security, thereby making sure that practically everyone in America has a place to live in, food to eat, and clothes to wear.
The image of a melting pot can be used to describe American society. People from places all around the world come together and mix their cultures to form a unique condition that only exists in America. It still amazes me sometimes how so many people with such different religions, races, and ethnicities can co-exist and live in harmony in America. The response to the recent terrorist attacks on America have reaffirmed this wonder and admiration within me. People across America have reached out to each other to lend a helping hand by donating blood, food, time, and money. Both Democrats and Republicans have joined together to condemn these cowardly acts and think of ways to help America rebuild. When it comes to defending and strengthening this nation, Americans are willing to put aside their differences and stand strong in unison. This fills my heart with joy and makes me proud to be an American. We truly are the United States of America and may G-d bless us.
I love this country and everything it stands for with the core of my being. I think that we are the best nation in the world in every possible way. America means a lot of things to me, including freedom, opportunity, and diversity. People have the freedoms of speech, press, religion, petition, and assembly; all guaranteed by the first amendment of the Constitution. Americans have a say in government by electing their leaders through a just and fair process. In this country, anyone can rise up the social ladder by working hard and striving to achieve his or her goals. The true miracle that is inherent in American society is the fact that people from various backgrounds and cultures can unite to preserve the American spirit.