Don't be ashamed of being American

Unbelievable! I just reread your featured letter July 22 from a woman "ashamed to be an American." Victoria Antonacci based her statement on overheard French airport chatter, the climate in Hollywood and her assumption that Americans "care so little."

Well, I certainly am not ashamed to be an American. I am proud to be an American. I do not base my love of country on what other people say and certainly not on the depraved culture of a bunch of Hollywood malcontents.

I see a nation formed by very brave Founding Fathers who risked nooses around their necks when they signed the Declaration of Independence.

I see a nation that stood on its own feet when the patriots defeated tyranny, and a nation that has done more than any other to raise the standard of living of hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

I see a nation that usually is the first to respond to disasters around the world with aid; a nation that has gone to the moon and returned safely many times; and a nation that has done more than any other to elevate public health and alleviate sickness and disease.

I am proud of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I am proud of the men and women in the U.S. military who have sacrificed so much, from Lexington and Concord to Iraq and Afghanistan. I am very proud of that generation of soldiers who saved the world from tyrannical disaster in the 1940s. I am especially proud of every American soldier who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of our country, freedoms and liberties.

America is more than just a country; it is an idea. That idea allows very ordinary people to do extraordinary things. My favorite Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, did not come from a family of nobles. He was a regular fellow who -- through hard work, talent and education -- rose to the pinnacle of society.

Many nations have been centered around people such as kings or dictators. America is centered around freedom, liberty and opportunity. Politicians come and go, but freedom and liberty remain. That is a facet of greatness.

Over the past several years I have seen millions of Americans stand up for their country. Of course, America is not perfect. We have had and still have our share of challenges. We are still struggling to be a better nation, and we will succeed.

I hope Ms. Antonacci reconsiders her shame. Perhaps it was frustration. She should use that emotion to help make this country even better.

Yes, I am very proud of America. Freedom and liberty are so sweet. May we never know the bitterness of their absence.

James Riddle

Aiken, S.C.

I'm finally ashamed to be an American

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