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We the people, we live in a very strange time, especially here in the United States. We hold a freedom that no other country has ever held. The citizens of the United States are more vocal and more able to make change than ever before in this nation’s history. Yet, we have so many people that feel oppressed and unheard. Why is that? Have we forgotten of the brave men and women that fought against the British for our independence? Have we forgotten about the struggle of our own Civil War, that at the time tore us apart, but at the end of it unified a nation under the common truth that we were built upon that “all men (women) are created equal?” Have we forgotten about the brave souls of our warriors that have fought overseas in Europe, the Middle East, Vietnam, the Pacific, Africa, and all those other places to which American men and women, whom have stepped up to defend this nation, did it by defending another oppressed people? Have we forgotten the men and women whom have died for the civil rights of all other men and women? Have we forgotten about our ancestors who immigrated to this great land? Have we truly forgotten how far we have come as a nation in such a short time?
Now, I am not saying that we as a country still don’t have a long road ahead of us, because we do. We have racial injustices, immigration issues, economic problems, and the one issue I believe that is driving every American apart today, identity. No, I do not mean identity as what race, sexual orientation, gender, or religious identity, I mean the identity that you, me, our families, ARE AMERICANS. “We the people…” We are those people. The ones are ancestors are calling upon today to unify this nation once more.
I remember being about five-years-old on September 11th, 2001. I remember being rushed away from my learn to ice skate program and taken into the ice rink’s lobby as my mother and I watched the American people fall under attack. I remember seeing the faces of so many people in our nation frozen in shock. I remember seeing the first responders and the able-bodied civilians stepping up and saving the lives of their fellow Americans. Following those tragic events, I remember the surge of patriotism and unity in this great land. “We the people” came together as one nation to defend itself and live with each other as one powerful nation.
However, as time went on, we grew apart again. The war being fought was becoming one that the American people no longer wanted to fight, but our government stood strong knowing that it needed to defend our land against any threat, foreign or domestic. I remember seeing protests against our war effort. I remember my Papa telling me it was looking like Vietnam all over again. Yet, we still had the strength of the American people coming alive in the Armed Forces. People from all different backgrounds, races, cultures, and areas of the world, coming together to protect this nation. The American spirit has never died for it has always been alive in our patriots defending the nation.
Again, it took yet another tragedy to unify this nation again. We watched as our loved ones fell under attack at the Boston Marathon. Innocent Americans being killed by enemy they didn’t even know was there. Again, our nation rose up and helped one another. First responders and civilians alike came to the aid of the injured. We as a nation mourned again for our fellow American brothers and sisters who lost their lives.
I recall, after the Boston Marathon attack, seeing the United States coming together, YET AGAIN, to hunt down the ones that hurt us, and to defend our nation. We came together after a very long time of being separated by our physical or religious or cultural differences and were the unified American people, for a brief time.
So that’s where we find ourselves again today. “We the people” find ourselves separated by almost every imaginable difference. But, have we forgotten who we are? We are Americans. We are in the land of the free. The land where every culture can come together and become one people living together through compromise and understanding. Sure, we have our bad apples that cause problems. We have people who feel they are under attack because of another culture, race, or religion, or even just a different belief. But my plea to the American people, do not let it take another tragic event to unify us as a nation. We need to remember who we are, today.
“We the people” need to stand behind the flag. Stand behind one another. Stand behind our fellow Americans and be the strong people that we are known to be. We need to throw aside our political, cultural, religious, racial, or any other indifferences we have and remember we stand as one American people. If we remember that WE are the American people, then WE as the AMERICAN PEOPLE will be able to fight all the oppression, injustice, and all other problems we have as a nation. But until the day we can all come together and agree that we have to do it FOR THE PEOPLE because WE ARE THE PEOPLE, well, then our problems will only remain.
So today I ask of you, shake the hand of a fellow American you’ve never talked to before. Regardless of your beliefs, your skin color, or your gender, shake the hand of an American, the hand of your brother or sister. We are a family here in the United States. We are a family that needs to remember its identity, and unify once again. WE THE PEOPLE can unite this country.