I have always been a proud American and I have never lost the feeling of awe that I feel every time I seen Old Glory flying against the backdrop of a clear blue sky. I was brought up to respect everyone regardless of their color, race or what country they came from and for the most part I have and do that. Sometime back I happened upon a great article titled Being American by Maileen H. the posting dealt with the complex issue of “Why do immigrants in the U.S. still hang on to their home culture? Why can't they simply adopt an American identity?”
My answer at that time to this question was and still is “American Identity? I am of Apache, Spanish, Mexican and Italian decent. How much more American can you get. My family has been a part of these Americas long before any of the so-called founding fathers were even a gleam in their father's eyes. So what makes my heritage any less American than, someone whose ancestors crossed a whole ocean in order to step foot on these great land we now call America?”
I think this summons up my whole attitude and thoughts on this question and those similar to it, now being posed more and more frequently, by individuals and groups that pigeon-holed people into their narrow view of what it means to be “A Real American’. There is nothing else that makes my blood boil and causes me to raise my fists up into the air, ready to fight, then when someone impugns me or my family’s Americanism, for lack of a better word, or my or my family’s patriotism.
Sometime back I had a Gatherer ask me why I didn’t have an American name. After I stopped laughing, I asked this individual what constituted a real American surname. I then proceeded to give him a history lesson on his family name, which turned out was Scott Irish. Now my question is does the fact that I have a Spanish surname or the fact that I can speak and understand Spanish in addition to English make me any less of an American?
What does constitute a “Real American”? Does having Smith or Jones as a last name, the sign of a “Real Patriot”? Perhaps the real definition of an American is someone who does not speak any other language besides English? Perhaps a real American is someone whose ancestor crossed a whole ocean in order to be part of this great landscape called the U.S. of A. Or maybe it is someone who sees beyond color, creed or religion, someone who sees diversity as the strength and force that makes us the envy of the rest of the world. Perhaps it is our willingness to accept uniqueness as a trait to encourage and not a liability. Yes, I think that is the real definition of what it means to be A REAL AMERICAN.