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Reflections: Our American Way of Life

Our American Way of Life
By William L. Bulla

The "American way of life" is an expression that refers to the "life style" of people living in the United States of America. In reality, it is something very simple and the words were written down for us more than 200 years ago by Thomas Jefferson, who gave us the most accurate definition that is just as valid today as it was then.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
As we look around us today and see so many life styles in America, we may ask ourselves, "What is the American way of life?" It can mean something different to each and every one of us.
The simplest way to explain it is to say that we are a people that uphold a strong belief in personal freedoms, and in such a belief people are free to do as they please. The freedoms we have are many and widespread, and in such, our way of life differs from any other place in the world.
We even differ from ourselves on a regular basis. You may find that no two groups of Americans are the same. Your viewpoint may differ from mine. Each of us holds our own ideas and views, each has a chance to explore them, and live in perfect harmony with one another. So, in essence, one could not explain the "American way of life" without having a thousand different answers.
Over the years, those who would disagree with us have attacked our belief in the cause of freedom. They have tried to change our belief in the "American Way of Life." This happened on September 11, 2001.
Cowardly terrorists tried to take it away from us. They took innocence lives and tried to create a horror so terrible that it would bring this nation to its knees. But it was a misguided attempt. They did not and will not succeed in that kind of endeavor. As Jefferson concluded the Declaration of Independence with these words that began a new nation: "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."
In the post 9 -11 era, many things have changed in America. It has become necessary to send troops over the world to defend our Americans way of life. But we have been tested before. Many of us are veterans having faced the horrors of war to preserve our American way of life.
What is the chief threat to our American way of life today? As Americans we are inclined to take the inevitable blessings of freedom for granted.
It has been many generations since the adoption of the American Constitution. Many in America today may have forgotten the cost and the value of freedom. Jefferson said: "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
Let us stay alert! Be vigilant!

William L. Bulla is a freelance writer residing in Washington County.

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