This I Believe

Natalija - Countryside, Illinois
Entered on October 2, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in the colors red, blue and white; in that order exactly. I believe in a double headed eagle, with its wings unfurled to represent strength and unity. I believe in a national anthem that is sung as a prayer. I believe that pride is victory. I believe in a sacred cross plated in gold. I believe in crossing myself with three fingers, and I believe that even though the Republic of Serbia has been ravaged by war more than once, we have become even stronger than weaker. I believe in the words “Samo Sloga Srbina Spasava”, which means “Only Unity Saves Serbs”. I believe in living by them everyday in prayer, thought, dance, and music. I believe in taking pride in my nationality.

I was raised in a Serbian household by Serbian parents. I have been attending a Serbian Orthodox church every Sunday for the past 15 years. I have Serbian friends and go to Serbian functions. I listen to Serbian music, and I understand the words that it sings to me. I have lived with being looked down upon because I’m Serbian, but have stood tall through every minute of it. I have watched the news in horror when that country was slowly destroyed and manipulated. But little did people know that the citizens there were on their feet day by day rebuilding their lives with hope and pride.

I have been asked more than once why I take so much pride in my nationality. My answer remains the same for each person. I say that even though so many wars have tried to rip our people and our country apart, that none have been successful. We have remained united through bombings and various acts of ethnic cleansing. People have tried to strip our nation of all hope and of all being, but little do they know that they’ve only made us stronger and everything but hopeless.

The Serbian people also remain spirited because of their rich culture and strong faith. Prayer in the Serbian Orthodox church is so much more than repeated words, but a way of life and a basis of morality on which to fall back on. The culture remains passionate and alive deep in the souls of the Serbian people. It also helps to build strong family, which is immensely valued among our community.

I believe in more than just a country. I believe in more than just a flag. I believe in more than just a language. I believe in more than just a national anthem. I believe that just a nationality…an ethnicity. My heart beats for the land I call home. My soul has been strengthened my unity and filled by pride. I believe…in the Republic of Serbia.