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Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Being American has brought on a whole new meaning in light of the happenings on September 11, 2001. It's a day that will live in infamy along with December 7, 1941 and July 4, 1776. One week ago America was an indescribable entity, the best people could do was call it a melting pot or a mixed bag. Today America is standing together, flying flags above our mailboxes, shedding tears for the lives lost, and trying to move forward as best we can.

The one American symbol that is prevalent in society today is the flag. Red, white and blue with fifty stars and thirteen stripes, it is a poignant figure that all can fly. A Jewish person may fly the Star of David, a Christian may wear a cross but the American flag knows no boundaries. The flag has always stood for freedom and equality. Today, it stands in remembrance of the lives lost at the hands of Osama Bin Laden and his zealous group of Islamic extremists.

His attack on the our very symbol of freedom and free enterprise has done nothing more than bring America closer than it has been since World War II.

Fortitude is an American strong point. We've survived a revolution, the Civil War, and two World Wars yet we are still the world's one and only super power. America has endured an economic depression and the constant turbulence of the stock market. America has shown great resilience time and time again, and its citizens will once more carry on, it is in our nature.

Americans are fickle, in one day and out the next is a motto to live by. Music, movies and fashion trends change constantly. The 60's had rock and roll, long hair and the Graduate. The seventies had disco, bell-bottoms and Jaws. The 80's had hair bands, glam rock and Rocky. Change and innovation is prevailing in the American society. Today America has rap, The Fast and the Furious, and a retro sense of fashion.

Being American is complaining about how much the government takes away in taxes, while not realizing how well we have it. America has not seen famine or major disease in ages, while major parts of Africa are dealing with both constantly. We have most everything we need, yet we are constantly yearning for more. Americans are wanting of the best and the most of everything, and until they have it we are not satisfied. Our sense of need and want are oftentimes confused.

To be American, one doesn't need to have all of these attributes. In fact, most do not. America and being American will change as the years pass by. Being an American today is different than it was just a week ago and much different than it was fifty years ago. However, our pride, endurance and love of self and country will continue to shine for eternity.

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