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Opinion

Columnist’s patriotism persists despite dwindling values among fellow Americans

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November 10, 2010

I believe that America is the greatest country on Earth. No other place in the world compares to the blessing of liberty and freedoms that we have. However, do we cherish them?

Far too often I see people complaining about our country, especially in world affairs. Why are people ashamed to be American? Too many people in the college generation and at all age levels casually scoff at Americans for being bigots and world dominators. What does a world without America mean? America is a beacon of light that countries of the world envy. Whether it is our freedoms of religion or the press, or our lifestyle of driving fancy cars and going crazy over football games, they want to be like us. So why can’t we, as Americans, figure this out?

Are we too lazy to hold our hand over our heart during the national anthem? I know that whenever I hear The Star-Spangled Banner, a chill runs down my spine. That chill does not come from the beautiful melody, but from the inner meaning and what has been sacrificed for us. Does your heart leap whenever you see the stars and stripes go by, held tightly by a service man or woman? Or do we just brush it off as we are entangled with the cares and troubles of our daily lives? Isn’t it a shame that we have only one day, Nov. 11, to remember our veterans? I believe every day we should have a gentle reminder of what they have done for us.

I firmly believe that if this country wants to move beyond this economic recession, we need to return to the values of old times. These values include working hard to live the American dream and fighting to make a better life for the next generation. They include being grateful to our family, friends and neighbors and taking pleasure in the simple things in life, such as watching a sunset or sitting down to read with your child.

These patriotic values of the everyday family in the United States will be the ones to pull us up by our bootstraps and to get America working again. I am only 19, but I still remember when it was considered shameful to live off the government before retirement and when it was a good thing when your family went to church every Sunday. I know that we can turn this country around, but it starts in the home. We can change this country one household at a time by honoring our past and keeping a watchful eye on our future.

I am proud to be an American. That is why whenever I hear the National Anthem or have the privilege of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, I will do so eagerly and humbly state it while honoring the sacrifice of the past and the hope for the future. I hope that by my actions, others will continue to follow suit. We are and always will be “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Ashley Goettl is an alumna of UW-River Falls. She was editor of the Student Voice from fall semester 2011 to spring semester 2013.

Comments

Ashlee on 19 Nov 2010: It is so refreshing to see an article like this in this paper. People seem to be forgetting American history and what this country is all about. We should be proud to be American. We live in a free country where we can voice our opinions, be ourselves, and expand on our ideas without restriction. We have opportunities to prosper and fail: We have the ability to pursue our dreams. What people are forgetting is that it takes hard work and dedication to get where you want. Your life is your responsibility, not society's. This country is in trouble because the people are forgetting where we came from and what we're about. The government isn't what makes this country, it's the people and the people need to remember how we got here.