Wednesday, July 04, 2007
The Fourth Of July
Via Truegrit, via American By Choice, what it means to be an American:
Our family's story was like so many of the refugees from communism, complete with relatives arrested, property seized, and a nighttime dash to freedom. The decision to escape was an easy one to make (although not so easy to execute), but the question I had--the one I distinctly recall asking my father--was "where are we going." We could have stayed in Europe--and indeed, the Germans would have welcomed us as Volk deutsche because of our German surname--but this was not my father's plan. "We are going to America," he said. "Why America?" I prodded. "Because, son. We were born Americans, but in the wrong place."May America always be independent, and always remember why we are American.
Because America is more than just a place, being an American citizen is different than being the citizen of any other country on earth. We Americans do not look to the ties of common blood and history for connection as people the way the citizens of other countries do. Rather, our common bond is a shared principle. This is what Lincoln meant when he referred to the "electric cord" in the Declaration of Independence that links all of us together, as though we were "blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh, of the men who wrote that Declaration."
Because ours is a bond of principle and not of blood, true American citizens are made and not born. This is why, odd as it may seem, we must all learn--those who are born here, and those who come here by choice--what it means to be an American.
Wishing you a wonderful 4th of July today.
This is a great post because as I wrote a post on my blog about "America, My New Home," I was once again reminded of the wonderful country this is. Your post just echoed my sentiments exactly.
Happy 4th of July!