Respecting My Past Essays

Respecting My Past Essays

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If given the opportunity to write a theme on what is it like to be an American, most students would write about the hackneyed “American” ideals: home-made apple pie, fireworks on the Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving dinner with the entire family gathered around a table. However, I honestly do not like apple pie, I think July Fourth is overrated, and on Thanksgiving I simply eat and then proceed to sleep in front of the football game on television for the remainder of the afternoon. Ergo, when given this prompt, I realized it was necessary for me to think outside of the usual “American” sentiments. After much deliberation, I realized I felt prouder of the conglomeration of nationalities which made me an American than of the American clichés which are associated with the “American” way of life. Being American is not only eating apple pie, celebrating Independence Day, and having Thanksgiving dinner; in my opinion, being American means respecting my heritage and being proud, not angry or annoyed, that many risk their lives just to be able to have the opportunity to live here.
In the massive wave of immigration of the early part of the 20th Century, , people from all corners of the world flooded the United States – my great-grandfather included. My great-grandfather Wilhelm Braun came from Germany to America as a dirt-poor 20 year old man. He had only 20 dollars in his pockets – yet somehow he moved to St. Louis Missouri and opened a successful. His son, my grandfather (also named Wilhelm), grew up speaking both German and English proficiently. However, at the onset of World War II, my grandfather lost all his knowledge of German -- he set up a mental block of the language because of the beatings he would receive at school. I am ex...


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...their lives daily just to be able to have the opportunity to live in this great country. Because of my heritage and the success of my ancestors, I feel proud to call myself an American; without American acceptance, my forefathers could never have succeeded in their chosen fields, and I would thence have never had the life I am privileged to live. I also consider myself an American because America is the Land of Opportunity – and without the opportunities this country provides, a poor German could never have had the chance to marry royalty. As Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor of California and an immigrant himself, once said, “To think that a once scrawny boy from Austria could grow up to become Governor of California and stand in Madison Square Garden to speak on behalf of the President of the United States that is an immigrant's dream . . . the American dream”.

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