What Is An American?

An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may, also, be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani, or Afghan. An American may, also, be a Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.

An American is Christian, or he or she could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.

An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, nor to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government or for God.

An American is from the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right of each man and woman to the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need. When Afghanistan was overrun by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country. As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan.

Americans welcome the best - the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best athletes.

But they also welcome the least. One national symbol of America, The Statue of Liberty, welcomes "your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed." These in fact are the people who built America. Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, earning a better life for their families.

I've been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 other countries and cultures with first languages other than English - including those countries of the 9/11 terrorists.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler tried. So did General Tojo, Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and every bloodthirsty tyrant in the history of the world. But, doing so would be futile because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.



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