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Today Is A Chance To Celebrate Being An American


Today is the Fourth of July. It's a chance to celebrate being American. So a couple of our producers here went down to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and they asked people visiting the Lincoln Memorial on a very hot afternoon what it means to be American. Here's what they had to say.

TARA GALAS: My name's Tara Galas (ph), and I'm from Kokomo, Ind. My dad was an immigrant to America and came here from Egypt because he was denied the opportunity to be a pharmacist because of his religion. And America means to me the opportunity to be a pharmacist or be whatever you want to be and not denied that because of your race or religion or social status.

SHERVANTI BAROUA: My name is Shervanti Baroua (ph), and I'm from Raleigh, N.C. To me, being American means knowing that our soldiers are working hard to keep us safe.

BRIAN TRUCKEE: I'm Brian Truckee (ph). I'm from Hawaii. And I'm also a staff sergeant in the United States Army. We really stand up for values that, when something is wrong, we stand together, say this is wrong, and we fight that impurity in the system.

KAREN THOMASON: My name is Karen Thomason (ph), and I'm from Brownsburg, Ind. And I'm proud to be an American - the ability to go to church when I want to, to be able to serve God when I want to. Just seeing the American flag makes me cry.

NANCY GUTIERREZ: My name is Nancy Gutierrez (ph), and I live in Virginia Beach, Va. Being an American to me means being inclusive, celebrating people's differences, being welcoming. But I feel like there's really been a negative shift in those core values that I think that are really fundamentally American.

REBECCA DAHLGREN: I'm Rebecca Dahlgren (ph). I'm from San Ramon, Calif. I'm just honored to be an American. And I get emotional. Sorry. It's really upsetting, at least to me it is, when people have said they were ashamed to be Americans. I don't understand them. It makes me sad because you live here, be proud to live here.

ANNABEL FARRINGTON: I'm Annabel Farrington (ph) with my children and my niece. And we're from Orlando, Fla. I'm a green card holder. I'm not an American citizen. I'm originally from the Bahamas. The opportunities that I have embraced here I could never embrace in my country. The opportunity to adopt two wonderful children and to see them grow and flourish and to feel loved, the opportunity to worship freely - I'm a Christian - The opportunity to meet people from all over the world, all the things that you can embrace in America, it's unbelievable. And this country will always be blessed.


Some of the voices on the National Mall. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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