This I Believe

Rob - Manlius, New York
Entered on December 18, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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Patriotism For Your Country

I believe that you can show patriotism to the country you live in without forgetting where you came from. Not enough people in today’s world follow through with this. Some, coming from countries in which the citizens have very little freedom, are afraid to practice their own beliefs when they come to a free place, such as the United States. They are afraid that if they don’t show complete loyalty to their new home, they will be prosecuted for what they think. A free country doesn’t work that way, nor should it. In a country like mine, all different religions can be practiced without fear. Wherever you go in America, you will see the influence of many different cultures and styles of people.

I think it is great to voice your opinions, if you think that they will benefit the country as a whole; not just you. One reason that makes a free country great is that the people hold the power to change it. Its citizens shouldn’t take advantage of this for their own personal gains.

I can prove that I understand what I’m talking about and am not completely making it up as I go. There have been many cases of my belief within my own family. Many of the men in my family served in the U.S. Armed Forces, none being native to America. My grandfather and his two brothers came over from Poland when they were young. Though the memories from their home country were always with them, they quickly built up a strong loyalty to America. They were all very interested in becoming true Americans. After America entered World War 2, my grandfather joined the Air Force and his older brother became a paratrooper. The youngest of the three had to wait until he was old enough to serve his country, which he eagerly did during the Korean War. They hoped to show that they were Americans and were willing to fight for, it even though they were not born there. In my opinion, they fulfilled their goal.

On the other side of the family, my other grandfather was also in the Air Force during Vietnam. His brother-in-law was in the Army during World War 2 and landed on Omaha Beach. He originally came from Germany, but felt no moral obligation to fight for the Fatherland. His love and loyalty to America was much too strong for him to do anything like that.

Many of my relatives served their country with great distinction during very dark, trying times. They came from across the globe to find the freedom or life they never had in America, and like so many others, they loved it enough to risk their lives to protect it. But they were the lucky ones; they all came back alive. There were hundreds of thousands of others that paid the ultimate sacrifice. Many came from other countries. Many knew how to speak different languages. Many practiced different religions. But all had at least one thing in common; all were Americans.

I believe that nobody should have to choose between loyalty to the country they come from and patriotism towards the country in which they live. This dilemma should never again cross the minds of those who wish to become citizens of any country. In a truly great country, both are possible.