GUEST COLUMN: The determination of the American citizen

Makenna Bubolz
Special to NEW Media

America is a melting pot of different cultures and individuals. Being a citizen of America can be seen as one of the most desirable things to many people in this world, and there is a good reason for that. Our country is renowned for the freedoms and incredible forms of expression that many other countries do not offer. To me, being an American citizen means being able to have the opportunity to accomplish anything you dream and working hard to better the place we call home.

In America, many think of the core values being freedom, wealth and independence. Although these are the most common ideas of American values, everyone has their own opinion on what America means to them. For the family business owner, it might be wealth and independence, but for the first generation immigrant, it might be equality, freedom and opportunity.

In my life, I see the American values of freedom and opportunity the most. As a young female American citizen, I can see that the opportunities I have in this country are some that I might never experience in other places. I have the ability to go to school, own a home, participate in sports, and even further my education with a bachelor’s, doctorate or masters’ degree. I benefit every day from my schooling, and it will guarantee me a future that many others are not fortunate enough to have.

In America, people are able to work hard and achieve success. Although success is defined in different ways, everyone is given a chance at theirs. Time and time again, we can see that American values shape the way we achieve our ambitions and define what it means to be an American citizen for each and every individual.

Americans are always striving for a better country. Whether it is the various presidents who have introduced new policies to make our country safer, or the different groups that work to preserve the land, Americans always work to better themselves and their country. So much effort is put into simple tasks like cleaning our highways or passing school referendums. These things have a common theme; progression and teamwork.

During both World Wars, Americans rallied together to conserve materials for the war at their own expense. Even though no one liked rationing food or having to grow their own gardens, they came together to support their country.

Another example of the way American people came together in support was during the Space Race era. Every person in America comes from vastly different backgrounds, but the one thing that was guaranteed to unite everyone was the joint goal of putting a man on the moon. The support of the entire country plus an estimated 400,000 individuals worked to help the moon landing become possible. In the end, an American man took his first steps on the moon.

America had accomplished a goal that everyone else in the world was working toward. We knew that we wanted to be the first country to land on the moon, and by working together, we were able to advance. Progression drives American ideals and fosters the hope of tomorrow. We live in a country where change is possible, and American citizens are the ones who work to make it a reality.

Millions of people around the world would sacrifice so many things to be a citizen of the United States of America. In the words of Gerald Ford, “We are bound together by the most powerful of all ties, our fervent love for freedom and independence.”

Our country is not perfect, but we as American citizens see the hard work of many past generations, the determination of the present and the optimism of the future. We are able to see the things we want to be done and work diligently to achieve them. In turn, this fuels our country and is what makes it so desirable.

Ultimately, I believe that no American citizen is identical, but we all share the common prospect of seizing our opportunities and bettering the country we love.

Makenna Bubolz is finishing off her junior year at Shawano Community High School. This essay received an honorable mention and $500 cash award from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation 2024 Student Writing Challenge.