I wrote this essay primarily for a job application. But I wanted to share it with my friends. Happy Independence Day!
America: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
America is known as the land of opportunity. A land where people strive to make a fulfilling life for themselves. A life free from tyranny, persecution, racism and communism. It is a place many individuals see as a gateway to happiness and the freedom to be who they want to be. But is America really all that? What has molded this country into what it is today? How can we be certain that America will continue to be the land of opportunity for everyone, regardless of age, color, race, religion, or culture?
My thoughts go back to 1776 when the founding fathers worked hard and fought for change. Many men gave their lives for the idea of a free land. “In God we trust,” became the motto. Surely our founding fathers believed that the power of God was in the formation of this country.
Years, decades, centuries later I see America as a prosperous land, that has definitely been through growing pains. From the Civil War in 1861 to the Great Depression in the 1930's. What pulled us through those times were strong, righteous leaders; Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. Ronald Regan led the country in the 1980s. When I think of America in the time of the '80s, Niel Diamond's song comes to mind. “They're Comin' to America. Today!” That was a day when immigration was encouraged. “An American Tail,” a story of Fival the mouse having a dream of coming to a free land, I remember from my childhood. The Regan Era proved to be a time when America wanted to reach out to the world and share what it has.
Then two decades later a day came that we are all familiar with. September 11, 2001 brought a massive terrorist attack that killed thousands of innocent people. That terrible day was a turning point in our nation's history. It caused every American to realize that not everyone in the world loves this country. In fact there are bands of men who hate Americans so much they are willing to give their lives to kill freedom-loving people.
Freedom does not come without a price, unfortunately. I am proud to be an American and I am grateful for the valiant men who gave their lives, and are still giving their lives, that I may be free. Free to act and think and be what I choose to be. I have the freedom to be who I am, and as long as I don't harm others, I have the freedom to do what I please. What a rare commodity in a world full of bigotry and hatred!
How do we continue the quest for freedom? How can we ascertain the freedom all the world deserves and good people desire? Simply by teaching principles of hard work and generosity to whomever we can. Teach young ones what we know by example and faith. That they may be instilled with the same kind of passion and understanding that good-blooded Americans share. That power may remain with the people, our trust continue to be with God, and that all may reap from the blessings of a free society. Let freedom ring in our hearts, that it may continue to pass down through the generations forever more!