I am very happy to have a patriotic 11-year-old who loves America!
I asked my son Ethan to write an essay about the reasons why America is special. I offered him $5 for the writing assignment (our kids don’t get an allowance or money for chores; I like to offer them incentives like this).
I hope you will enjoy Ethan’s essay and remember how great this country is on this special day.
Travel with me to the second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. The date is July 4, 1776. The hot Pennsylvania sun beats down on the roof of the Pennsylvania hall, where the congress has assembled. The air is stifling inside the room of the red-brick building where the 56 representatives from the 13 colonies, dressed in finely tailored suits and wigs, are being read the Declaration of Independence. The document is unanimously approved, and with it a great nation is born.
The Constitution outlined our beliefs as a nation: that “all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This is the country where immigrants like my grandparents flocked to because of the promise of something so precious: liberty.
This is the nation who fought its costliest war in its history to abolish slavery. Over time, the United States has in the words of Dennis Prager “at great sacrifice promoted liberty around the world more than any other nation.”
Marquis de Lafayette once said this about the US, “Humanity has won its battle. Liberty now has a country.”
One of the most special things about America is that we are, in a sense, governed by the citizens of our country. It is the people who make the decisions that will impact them, not a king or a leader whom we didn’t elect or choose. We have the power to shape our futures, as well of the futures of the next generation.
That is one of the things that make America great.
Also, America is the land of opportunity. According to U.S Representative Cathy McMorris, “What has made America great have been the opportunities given to everyone in this country. Since our founding, individuals and families have come to America to seek freedom, opportunity and the choice for a better life.”
As Dennis Prager once said, “America is unique for its value system.” We have our values emblazoned on every coin:
E Pluribus Unum
In God We Trust
E Pluribus Unum, Latin for “from many one”, signifies that no matter your race, ethnicity, or religion, once you become an American citizen, you are an American, just like someone who has lived here for centuries.
In God We Trust signifies that God is the source of our values, not the government or a king, and therefore they are inalienable.
Lastly, liberty is one of our core values, which means that we are independent, as a country and individually as citizens.
It is on these values that we were founded 240 years ago. It is our values as a country that makes this country, the USA, great.
Happy Birthday America!