I never heard of Fordham until I started looking into colleges, but ever since my freshman year, I've been filled with school spirit ever time June 24th (Fordham's Founder's Day) rolls around, and I suppose that, as a good alum, the same will be true after I graduate. I never went to Argentina until this past February, but I spent enough time getting to absorb Argentine national pride to feel that, though my exchange program ended a little over a week ago, I will likewise always be filled with pride on today: July 9th, Argentine Independence Day. (After all, I did get to sing the national anthem with the current president.)
Having just celebrated our own independence on July 4th, we yanquis know full well what it means to rejoice as a nation in what it means to have our own shared identity and the liberty that comes along with that unique identity. In the U.S. we have particular reason to be glad: our nation was the first in the Americas to establish its freedom from the Old World, and, on top of that, our democratic system has never been interrupted by a coup d'etat. Argentina, which declared its independence in 1816, was one of the nations of the Americas which ended up following our lead, and the democratic system has not historically been so stable; the 20th century, from 1930 onwards, was marked by various coups. The U.S., anyway, has hardly been free (and at the moment certainly isn't free) from many serious problems, and while we may love to refer to ourselves as The Greatest Nation on Earth, I say that we ought to say so with great humility. The other nations of the New World (and all the other nations of the world, from Ireland to Algeria, which once were controlled by foreign powers), having followed us, are not inferior to us. We are all in this together, striving towards a world of freedom.
I, having spent almost five months in Argentina, can, even while conscious of the danger of cultural appropriation, still venerate with great reverence the memory of the Liberator General Don José de San Martín and the other Argentine founding fathers, sing the national anthem, and view a beautiful blue sky as simply a reflection of the Argentine flag because, as an American, I have a right and a duty to rejoice in the unity in diversity of the nations of the world born of a common dream of freedom. This, I dare to suggest, ought to be the chief sentiment of our own great nation in the world which our generation will build.