What does it mean to me to be an American?

I feel proud to be an American. I have an overwhelming sense of honor and pride when I see an American flag waving or say the Pledge of Allegiance.

Why is this? Why do I have this connection to this country? I am sure for others that have similar feelings the reasons vary greatly. I believe that people are made up of their experiences – and are built like a jigsaw puzzle. All their experiences are like individual pieces. These experiences  are partly what makes us who we are.

I have always looked at the United States as the greatest country in the world. A country with a built-in ingenuity in its people and a drive that even in failure – can overcome and succeed and come back stronger. America can take on all challenges and succeed. Just look at some of our history. The United States assisted in winning both World War I and II. Without the United States – this entire planet would look completely different – and not for the good. I suspect if it were not for this great country most of Europe would be speaking German and most of Asia would be speaking Japanese. Additionally, back in July of 1969 – more than 40 years ago this country landed men on the surface of the moon. What an incredible feat and accomplishment.

As I think back through my life of 41 years there are some vary specific memories that I have that I think led me to my feeling of Patriotism.

Here are a few:

  • Saying the Pledge of Allegiance as a child. Standing in class facing the flag with a hand over my heart – it meant something. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of The United States of America….” For some kids maybe it was just something that they had to do – but I looked at it as important. 
  • My Dad. I remember hearing about his time in the military. I had a sense of awe about him that he volunteered to serve his country. I remember seeing pictures of him in other country’s – wearing his United States military uniform (he was in the Air Force and the Army).
  • Ronald Reagan. Elected President in 1981 – I was 11 years old. He was President throughout my teenage years. I was taken with his swagger, his way with words. His presence commanded respect and he exuded confidence. You know what else? He talked often about this great country. It sank in deep. Even now – when I hear his words  – I get chills. How we need someone like him today.
These are just a few things. I never served in the military – something I really regret. There is not much more Patriotic than serving your country and I really respect all those that do and have.

I remember the camaraderie and Patriotism that the vast majority of this country felt on September 12th, 2001. There were flags in every yard and people felt united. I miss that.

In these troubling times I see Patriotism and Pride in America loosing – while “I deserve” and “getting something for nothing” winning out. It is easy to get down on this country – when really it is not this country that we should be down on. The things that Reagan stood for still exist. Our Founding Fathers set something in motion that still continues today – just have to believe.
I love this country. I do believe in it – but that doesn’t stop me from worrying about it either.

Rourke


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23 Comments

  1. I can attest to the memory of America in the sixties, when we read Eleanor Roosevelt’s columns in the paper, took the Sabin vaccine, practiced duck and cover drills…and were sent home from school when President Kennedy was assassinated. We mourned with his family as a nation through the miracle of television and did indeed fulfill his challenge to land on the moon.
    We were still proud through the riots, civil rights, Vietnam, Kent State and Watergate.
    And we are still proud to this day because we as Americans know that the troubles facing us today, shall pass. As were our forefathers, we’ll be thrown into the crucible-tested by fire and we will come out stronger, better, more determined to make our children’s future better and brighter than our own.

  2. Thanks for this post. I am a veteran of the Navy 1987-1989. I was a snot nosed punk that had a lot of attitude. I was discharged for other than honorable, not a terrible discharge. But as I am older I see that i was wrong and that i served with giants and men that made a difference in this world. i wish i could go back and change things but I cant. I have tried to raise my children to make a better world, 1 my father would be proud of, a ww2 and Korea vet. I teach them all my skills at survival and my trade of welding and millwright. I truly believe that our country is going to fall, very very hard, and that our children are going to either piece it back together or eat each other like rabid dogs. I choose to prep for the sake of my family and for my country and your families future. i hope this has made some sense.

    • Thanks misfit –

      Your comments made a lot of sense. We all make mistakes and have regrets for things done in the past – just gotta move forward.

      Take care – Rourke

  3. Rourke,

    I have enjoyed reading and digesting everything you post on ModernSurvivalOnline for quite some time now. You, along with several others, have inspired me to begin my journey to better preparedness. I look forward to seeing new things from you every day.

    Regarding this post, I am so greatful for the words and thoughts behind them. I have similiar memories and still, to this day, get a lump in my throat when reciting the Pledge or singing the Star Spangled Banner. I was fortunate enough to retire from active military service (USAF) back in 2002. Having the privilege to serve this wonderful country was and is the greatest honor one could have ever bestowed upon me.

    I too worry about the direction we are heading as a country and, through hard work, perserverance, and prayer, believe that we will eventually triumph and overcome the dark days ahead. Rediscovering what it means to be an American and embracing our individual patriotic duties is a great start.

    The phrase “freedom isn’t free”, is so true and must not be forgotten. Freedom and personal liberties took a long time to win and will continue to be a struggle to maintain.

    I encourage everyone to proudly and properly display the American Flag at your home. Recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing boldly the Star Spangled Banner at every opportunity. Maybe, just maybe, our patriotism will rub off and wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing.

    In Liberty,
    Zoomie

    • Zomie –

      Thank you for your comments and thoughts – and thank you very much for your service.

      Nice website by the way – will be checking it out more in the future.

      Rourke

  4. What a wonder idea to share your feelings with others. If I may share as well:
    My Mother- Moved to this country from Portugal in the early 60’s after marrying her love who was in the USAF. She gave up a rich, well conncted family, home country and literally millions of dollars in inheritance to marry my father and have her children outside of a dictatorship. She instilled in her 4 boys, love of this COUNTRY, pride in service to the FLAG, and a fiery disposition when someone disrepects either.
    Watching families at Langley AFB, place their hands over hearts at events. I still remember watching a mother help her toddler son place his hand over his heart as they stood for the National Anthem. I saw it again in my daughter’s kindergarten class when her teacher asked the kids to stand for the Pledge. Her husband was in the Army and deployed in the sandbox.
    And recently, standing with other Americans on the side of a road waiting to salute a Marine that gave his life in defense of our safety. We waited for quite a while in the south Florida afternoon heat, but noone complained.
    The Real America is not on the news and usually not represented in many TV shows. But if you look for it you can see it all around you in little ways and little faces.

  5. I too share your feelings about our country. I think that Reagan was the greatest president we have ever had. I’m not sure if our country’s downward spin started when Clinton was in office or started with Obama. Don’t want to turn this political. I had a teacher in high school that was at Pearl Harbor on Dec 7th, aboard the U.S.S. Nevada.
    He spent his whole Navy career in the pacific. We learned a lot from him. I believe if it was not for the U.S., All of Europe would be NAZI Germany.

    I have become a history buff of W.W. Two and I love to learn everything I can about the war. I love this country, “Land of the Free, Home of the brave, “

  6. I’m a little younger than you. I think you can make a case that Reagan was the least bad president in my lifetime. I agree that he gave the best speeches. Unfortunately, his speeches didn’t make up for his big spending. It’s a shame that the high water mark is set that low. The survival of our nation depends on our doing better than him.

  7. Rourke,

    Thanks buddy! It seems some of us Preppers are so worried about .gov and FEMA that they can’t see straight. Indeed we currently have corruption, but the basic principles Freedom are what our Great Nation was founded upon. Let’s make sure we don’t forget the original intent of America while we prepare for an uncertain future.

    Thanks for providing a relevant site!

    JeSter

  8. For me it’s the story of America and the inherent good will of most Americans. I can count the number of countries in Europe that I have NOT been to on a portion of one hand and it’s not the same anywhere else in Europe or North America or Australia and so I would extrapolate the world. There is in most of the US a self-reliant charity that when confronted with suffering asks not why me but rather why not me.

    It’s the fact that my family bribed the KGB to escape Eastern Europe to come here with nothing because freedom was more important than the material wealth we left behind.

    It’s the fact that this nation is so fertile a seed bed for my faith and faith in general.

    I love the fact that this country was founded by gentlemen who were more willing to loose everything than to cow to tyranny–my hope is that is still true today–but that is what America means to me and thats why our flag and anthem bring a tear to my eye.

  9. I am still happy and proud to be an American, no doubt. This .. http://www.randompics.net/?p=17037 _ (Warning, very nsfw language) is one of the scariest indictments i have ever seen , of where we may have ‘gone astray’ in years past. nearly made me cry to think about it . let’s bring back our frontiers and never stop building better futures for our kids and grandkids.

  10. Rourke you nailed it! Great post…now if we can only get more people to believe that all our hope and change must take place in November 2012…

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