Friday, April 25, 2008

The All American Hokie.

I have been thinking about how proud i am to be an American recently. And I haven't really come up with anything too brilliant. In fact, I am having a hard time thinking of anything that makes me FEEL like a true American at all. After 9/11, all of us had that instantaneous rush of patriotism... well, I know i did. But after that, the patriotism kinda just fades back into the background. I'm not saying that i DON'T have pride for my country, but just that in a daily routine/life, being an American doesn't really roll into my head all that often.

I began to compare my pride for being an American to my Hokie Pride. On a daily basis, I am reminded of what it is to be a proud member of the Hokie nation. Even before April, I have had very strong feelings of being a part of the family here at Tech. Whether it's riding the bus to class with other students and 1/3 of them are wearing maroon or orange, or just taking a few seconds while walking to class to stop and admire the Hokie Stone on the buildings. Not to mention the football, basketball and other Tech sports.

Everyday when i'm living my normal life, there are constant reminders of being a Hokie in blacksburg. It's on the cars, it's in the stores, its on people's shirts, it's everywhere. Most stores have some sort of Hokie paraphernalia in the windows, for sale, and some stores even have Hokie-associated names (Hokie House (which is a bar), Hokie Hair, The Gobbler, Beamer's Restaurant). My point being that I feel the Hokie spirit everyday, but the American spirit? It doesn't feel the same.

While i was in the shower, i had a thought... What if my pride for being a Hokie is just a big part of being an American... like America is a big pie, and i'm just having the Hokie piece. So my question to you guys is, what makes YOU feel like an American?


Jessy said...

One of the biggest things that made me feel like effects of being American was my time in Greece. I remember being constantly asked where I was from in America, why I was in Greece, and what I thought of the President. Many people were shocked to find out that I was studying the art, archaeology, and history of their country, as they had thought that American girls were easy (European Stereotype), and that Americans didn't care about anyone's culture than their own. Furthermore, many people thought that we all blindly followed our leader- that we all thought like President Bush.

I guess the biggest thing about all of these stereotypes was that they made me feel like a BETTER American for always questioning things. I didn't feel like an American because I had accepted, and was a perfect poster child for these things, but rather I rejected them by being always interested in other cultures and histories, by behaving appropriately and covering myself in public places, and by having the right to disagree with the policies of my government. When I was little, I wanted to grow up and be an ambassador, or be the Secretary of State- since then, my goals have changed, but I do feel that, in a small way, I was an ambassador for our country.

One of my favorite moments, too, was when I heard a group of French students talking about Americans in a cafe. The group, probably because I wasn't dressed like the stereotypical American, didn't think I was American, so they spoke freely about Americans behind my back. I loved that I was able to turn around, and in perfect French, initiate a conversation with all of these students about how and why they were incorrect.

I guess in my most American of moments, I was a very big Hokie too- studying abroad, nonetheless. I still sometimes wonder if any of the people I met thought about me when they heard what happened here, last April. I wonder if they thought positively of my group of American students, Hokies, on one of our saddest days.

MotherOf3Guys said...

I agree with Jessy that all it takes is one visit out of country and it makes you realize how great it is to be American! I find it interesting that when I travelled out of country (1980's), a lot of the people I talked with indicated their great desire to visit America. Not sure if that is true today but it was eye-opening for me.
I have to say on any given day, I don't think that much about being American either...but patriotic music really gets to me! I love a good John Phillips Sousa march, America the Beautiful, and even the national anthem (even if I can't sing it!) Just to name a few.
I am reminded that during the 9-11 timeframe, it was darned hard to buy a flag because everyone was buying and displaying them. I read that during times of crisis, flag sales soar. I have wondered many times why we don't show are partiotism more, even when there is not crisis.
I miss seeing those flags flying.
Good thoughtful post!! I'm so proud!!

GR8UMPS3 said...

What makes me feel like being an American?

Is being an American.

Being one who has had the privilege of visiting a foreign country, I know how lucky we are to be an American. We go the grocery store and expect a loaf of bread to be there, and it is. If everyone would watch the evening news, that sometimes have stories about the status of life in some African countries and other parts of the world, and really pay attention to the story, and compare the conditions that are being portrayed, to the way we Americans live, you would immediately be proud to be an American. Because being an American is having ability to go to that store and buy a loaf of bread. We have worked very hard for many years to reach this status.