Standing up for America

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“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” We all live in the best country in the world. A place built on hard work, standing up for equality, freedom, and guns.

There seems to be a change in the wind that is taking place with a few people not considering it “socially acceptable.” The pledge of Allegiance is one thing most of us remember repeating every day from preschool through high school, and we were happy to take those few seconds every day to remind ourselves where we are from.

I noticed though, when I hit high school, the grades below me began to have a problem with it. Students began to refuse to stand and say the pledge of allegiance; most of them were immigrant kids and kids with an attitude trying to make a statement. Now this is nothing against immigrants because there are a lot who are not like this, but accepting of the culture in this country and standing up to the plate when push comes to shove. My ancestors are immigrants, so I’m not speaking out against immigrants, but against this demeaning and selfish train of thinking.

It was a Friday, I remember, and it seemed normal to me. I was walking into my Spanish 1 class just as the bell rang and we all stood for the pledge of allegiance. I sat in the front row, so I didn’t know what was going on behind me. We all got through about three quarters of the pledge of allegiance when my teacher, Mr. Gomez (names have been changed), stopped us. I looked back just as I saw Mr. Gomez make his way to a Hispanic kid, named Alberto, who was still sitting in his chair. Mr. Gomez asked him why he was sitting during the pledge of allegiance. The boy began to explain how he was Mexican and from Mexico, for that reason alone he would not stand to support America.

That seemed to light a fire under my Spanish teacher’s butt, also who was not from the United States originally, but embraced it graciously. Finally, the teacher made Alberto stand and recite the pledge of allegiance once more. One question that came to me was, “Why?” Why not stand up and support the country you live in that gives you the right to speak against whatever you want. Without our freedoms, Alberto probably would have been taking off to somewhere unknown if he was living in another country.

What happened to the time when the majority of people gave selfless service to stand up for what’s right. Why do we not have the same spirit that once existed among the majority that engulfed the youth so long ago to join the military at a young age to fight for this country? Now just to make it clear, I’m not saying everyone needs to go join the military because that would be quite hypocritical, but that spirit and sense of pride is more than lacking in today’s citizens.

Take yourself back to a few years ago, Sept. 11 2001, ask yourself, how did our country react? Whether you’re a conspiracy theorist or against the war in the Middle East, it does not matter, but look how our country pulled together and went after something. Despite everything you may hate or disagree with that situation, American people had a fire reignited once again within themselves. We all had a sense of pride that shouted the words of Toby Keith, “you’ll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A. ‘Cos we’ll put a boot in your a--, it’s the American way.”

Upon discussing this subject with a “colleague,” he went on the defensive saying, “Well your ancestors were not originally from here, so how can you consider yourself “American” and your ancestors brought their culture over as well to the U.S.” To him I responded in the affirmative, but my ancestors never refused to stand and take on the name “American” because they were born in another country. When they came over America became their homeland, it became No. 1 on the list of allegiances. They stood up for what was right, and placed their hands over their hearts to pledge their allegiance and lives to the country that GAVE them a chance for a better future.

I know there are a few of you out there that will take this completely the wrong way, so I must address this. No I’m not saying those of us who were born here in the U.S. are far superior to the rest of the world and should be treated as such. We are all human beings trying to make it in this world of crazies, and we should look to help each other and better each other’s lives. But the time of “It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” is coming to an end with the new era of, “give me what I want because I’m entitled to it” is starting.

Too often are we trying to find the easy way out. Developing technology to better effectively do a job is one thing, but trying to find the easiest way to get something done just ends up with shoddy work. This type of thinking comes from one place, the

When will we as citizens of this great country finally stand up as we once did and LIVE the American dream? We live in a place where you actually CAN be what you WANT to be. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, taxi driver, mechanic, welder with their own business, or a billionaire business man you CAN do it. Bringing up the old adage, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” That happens in America. If you don’t believe me, try traveling outside of the USA and live for a few months. You’ll realize so many other factors that MOST of us don’t have to deal with. Things like, mafia involvement, extreme corruption and harassment.

We’re American, whether you come from Africa or Anaheim, Mexico or Morocco, Russia or Puerto Rico, WE ARE AMERICAN. The minute we all made that promise and gained our citizenship we became American. Don’t forget your past because that’s what made you, but embrace the present and future. America is where you live and where you’re from, if you don’t like it be my guest to go back to the rest of the world.

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