The American Way: Courage, Pride, and Honor
The American Way: Courage, Pride, and Honor “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country: but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. ” These words, uttered by the great Thomas Paine on December 23, 1776, embody the true courage and sacrifice of the many American Patriots during the earliest stages of our country. It is words and ideals such as these that shaped and molded our country into the place we know it as today.
As both an American citizen and student of US history, I believe that a man’s true character reveals itself in times of adversity. The leaders emerge and men and women of smaller fortitude weed themselves out, sometimes sooner rather than later. The early stages of our country were marked with great struggle and rebellion against the powers that kept us down. There has been struggle throughout the entire history of our country, and still is today, but not many quite like our struggle to gain independence and freedom.
Our country made its first true attempt to gain independence from King George the III by declaring ourselves an independent nation free from any bondage to Great Britain. This led to the Revolutionary War, in which over 4,000 men gave their lives and another 6,000 were wounded, in the attempt to gain freedom for all Americans. General George S. Patton later explained what drove these men to go to any length for their country when he said, “The courageous man is the man who forces himself, in spite of his fear, to carry on.
Discipline, pride, self-respect, self-confidence, and the love of glory are attributes which will make a man courageous even when he is afraid. ” Thousands of men have died throughout the history of this country so that we may be able to live the life we live today, with nobody ruling us and the freedom to worship as we please, live how we please, and aspire to make the most out of ourselves in every aspect of life. Our country takes pride in the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and hopefully we shall never be so foolish to forget the sacrifices made.
We fly our flags at full height to remember these men, we celebrate independence day, and we celebrate veterans day because we need to remember the violence and adversity in order to appreciate the peaceful and prosperous lives we are able to live today. I’ve already spoken about the freedom fighters in the beginning of our time as a nation. However, many others have fought for freedom and equality in order to shape our nation into what it is today. The African-Americans had to fight in the 1960’s for equality.
Imagine coming to Lackawanna College and whites and blacks drinking from separate water fountains and eating in different cafeterias. This would truly be a sad representation of the character of the average American man. Even before this the Irish immigrants were hated and discriminated against, but also the Italian and Polish immigrants. So many people have struggled and persevered for the better of our nation. I believe the American experience is one of courage, hardship, perseverance, freedom, and equality for any man who chooses to come here and pursue these ideals.
John F. Kennedy described perfectly the importance of these beliefs and standards when he said, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear an burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and success of liberty… We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed. ”