Friday, March 5

A Good Sort of Pride

My name is Gabriela Frei, and I am proud to be an American. 

 I have the distinct honor of being a first generation American. My mother hails from Chile, South America, and her parents are 100% Italian and Danish. My father is Cuban, and his family escaped from Cuba when he was 5 years old, on one of the last ships before they shut everything down.

I am 100% American. Although I cherish my Italian, Danish, and Cuban heritage, I am American. And I am proud of that fact. I love my country.

This is a great nation. I know this is a vast understatement, but I don't feel it is said enough these days. I hear too much about what is terribly wrong with this country, what needs "change," what needs fixing.

This may be true to a certain extent, but ladies and gentlemen, this country is the greatest country in the world. And I am proud to be a member of it.

Whatever needs fixing with the USA, it has been such a bastion of freedom, such a promoter of good in the world. I feel that because my family is not originally of this land, but has been graciously adopted into the American family, I am even more aware of and grateful for what this country offers.

Here we are free to worship God. We are free to use the strength of our hands, the strength of our minds to accomplish great things. We are free to attempt, to achieve, even to fail. We are free to do what we feel in our hearts is our call.

We are free.

But this freedom is being threatened by those who offer a false sense of equality.

Life is not fair. Life is not equal. Yes, all men are created equal by God, with certain unalienable rights: the right to live, the right to believe, the right to be free. But prosperity is not guaranteed to all. Success is not a given, just because you either happen to be born in America, or have arrived within her borders.

Every man is given two hands to work. Every man is given a brain to think, to conceive, to invent. Not all are given equal measure of strength or intelligence. To whom much is given, much is expected. Ability is a gift and a challenge.

We must do what we can with what we have. We ought not covet what our neighbor has or does. Rather, we ought recognize with humility and honesty what we have been given, and strive to achieve what we can.

The sense of entitlement, that I "deserve x, and you should pay for it," will destroy everything that makes this country great, that makes people around the world dream of coming to America and have the chance to achieve their dream.

The American dream is to achieve, to be successful. And that's what it is: a dream, a hope, a challenge. Not a guarantee, a certainty, or a handout. We are promised life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Not the assurance or inevitability of happiness. We must work. We must sweat. If we do, then our success and our failure is our own. We stand then on our own two feet, and take responsibility for ourselves.

I am proud to be an American. I am proud of my country, of the men and women that have sacrificed, have poured out their blood, so that I can be free. Freedom is never free, and a great price has been paid so that we can now enjoy the rights and privileges that come with being American. We must be so proud of what our forefathers have done, and never forget their tremendous sacrifice.

I do what I can, and am grateful for what I have. I dream of the future, and I work hard to realize that dream. I don't expect anyone to achieve my dream for me, nor do I ask for anyone to pay my way. And I remember the past, all that has been done. As I remember, I am grateful, and my heart swells all the more with pride.

I am an American. And I will not forget the price that has been paid so that I can claim that inheritance. I will forever be grateful, I will always be proud of who I am, of what this country has achieved and the hope that if offers. I love my country.

One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

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