Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “America is another name for opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of divine providence on behalf of the human race.” Being an American gives you the opportunity to be who or what you want, no matter where you came from. America, the melting pot, was built on diversity and opportunity. Being an American is also about freedom. We have the freedom to choose anything and everything about our lives. Our freedoms were defined in the Bill of Rights, and we continue to demand that those rights are recognized. The bill of Rights protected our individual freedoms against the government. We have the freedom to choose our religion, where we go to school, who we want to love and marry, what career we want, all the important decisions are ours to make. The diversity in America provides us many choices, but should also provide us many ways to look at things. We have the freedom, the right, the duty, to choose our leaders. Some people think being an American is about standing before a flag. But it’s not about a flag, it’s about what the flag represents. It represents the lives we lost of the brave men and women who fought for our freedoms. They fought for the freedoms and protections of men and women of all colors and backgrounds. They fought for the freedom to stand up for equality, to stand up for those who cannot stand for themselves, for our neighbors. Our flag representation is loaded with so much meaning and history. Being an American is more than just our flag. Being an American is noticing and respecting other people’s backgrounds, it’s being able to identify their cultures and having an open mind about other ideas. It’s coming together, finding common ground, not letting color, ethnicity, culture, religion and even sexual orientation get in the way of making a change. We have respect for those who are proud to be themselves and not let those with simple minds stop them. Being an American isn’t as simple as we think. It’s not all about change, freedom, and opportunity. We hardly give enough credit for those who had to give up their homes and even their families, all to come here with hope in their hearts and a new life in mind. As an American we have the luxuries of being safe with our families, owning our own homes, voting and having a voice. So we tend to overlook those who gave up everything just for the safety our country provides. It takes so much time and effort becoming a citizen. So be proud and thankful you were able to come up in the American life.As an American, we are grateful for our freedoms, we are grateful for our voices and opportunities to make a change. We recognize the hard work, honor, and protection of those who are brave enough to fight for all of us. We need to take more time being thankful for our “divine providence” because it did not come cheap, it did not come easy, and it did not come without tremendous sacrifices.