What Independence Day Means An International Student

What Independence Day Means An International Student

Independence Day has as much impact on me as it does on all Americans

Not long ago, I celebrated the 241st birthday of America. I dressed in tri color, held the Stars Spangled Banner, went to parades, and saw fireworks. I seemed as patriotic as everyone else, except that I felt a little guilty for my patriotism.

I am not American. I use different slangs, speak with a different accent, and hold a different color passport. I am a foreigner and should not be mingling with the natives. However, Independence Day has as much impact on me as it does on all Americans

It is a celebration of unity.

Independence Day not only celebrates America's independence from Great Britain but also marks the beginning of the development of American values: democracy, freedom, equality, acceptance, respect, and the list goes on.

I have talked to strangers on every Independence Day since the year I arrived in America, and every year after hearing my story, they would look into my eyes and smile, "Welcome to America." To me, that means a lot more than just being polite. For centuries, this land has had her arms open to everyone, men and women, white and black, Christian and Muslim, liberal and conservative. Years ago, she welcomed me. In America, I harvested friendship, knowledge, skills, and mindset. On Independence Day, I express my gratitude with pride. On Independence Day, I am just as American as the others.

It is an opportunity to learn the history of the country I live in.

The US is not the only country I have lived in besides my home country. My family moved around the world and settled in various countries to ensure that I would have the richest cultural experience possible. Wherever I go, I hold the belief that it would be pointless to live somewhere if I didn't know its history. Independence Day provides me the opportunity to listen to the stories of those came before me. My heart sinks with those who sacrificed for this land, twisted with those who labeled one people superior than the other, and leaped with those who fought and won the battle for freedom and equality. Independence Day made me experience America deeper.

It is recognizing the differences between my home country and the States and reflecting on what America means to me.

I did not arrive in this country on a steamboat. Nor did I go through a series of Elis Island checkups under Lady Liberty's gaze. However, just like generations ago when the ancestors of today's Americans stepped on this land, my family and I came here with dreams and hopes for the future.

A lot of people have told me that no matter how many American pop songs I listen to or how minimal my accent is, I am and will always be a foreigner in the country. The first fourteen years of my life was spent elsewhere, and this gap, they say, would never be filled with any effort to fit in. I dare say there is no American culture – American culture itself is a mixture of various traditions. To me, it is about respecting, accepting, and understanding other cultures. I am honored to be part of it while holding the values that run in my family.

While I paraded down the streets with the Star-Spangled Banner over my shoulder, I felt out of place. That feeling was soon dissolved into the realization that everyone in this immigrant country has once been in my shoe as a foreigner. Independence Day reminds me my role in this country – I may hold a different passport, but I can do as well, dream as high, and love the land as much – as the others around me.

Popular Right Now

An Open Letter To Every Athlete On Their Senior Night

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened"

Dear Seniors,

For many of you, today was a day that you had always wished would come sooner, only to find that when the day arrived wishing for it to come was the last thing you truly ever wanted.

When stepping out onto the court or field or rink for the very last time today, take a moment to stand quietly and look out into the crowd, look to your teammates, to your coaches, and to your fellow seniors, and remember the way this made you feel, as this is a feeling you will remember for the rest of your life.

Today and every day moving forward will be filled with memories that will last you a lifetime.

Today is a day bound to be filled with endless amounts of tears, both happy and sad, so let it be. Let these feelings consume you, and serve as a reminder that no matter where you may go in life from this very moment, that you have made a family of your own. That you have changed the lives of others by just simply being in theirs.

That all the little things were really the big things, like the nicknames you had for your teammates, or your favorite song to sing in the locker room before a game. These things that never seemed to mean anything at the time are all the things that you will carry with you when you leave this place you call your home away from home.

On this day, years from now you will not remember the wins and losses of each season, but the people that took this journey with you and never let you look back.

The teammates that picked you up and carried you through the good and the bad of each day. The ones that taught you to see the good in all things. The ones who never let you live down the stupid things you did, mainly because they did them with you. And even the ones that you couldn't stand 99.9% percent of the time.

You will remember the coaches that pushed you and never let you give up.

You will remember all the times they yelled and made you run until you couldn't walk. The times that they depended on you to be the leaders we all knew you could be. But more than any of that, you will remember the opportunity they gave you to play the game you learned to love, the game that changed your life, the game that taught you more lessons about life, love and dedication than anything ever could.

On this day I ask you to remember a few things. I ask that you remember that the impact you have had on your teammates' lives is unmeasurable, never doubt that. The time you have spent dedicated to this sport that you love was never, EVER a waste of your time, because you are a better person because of it.

I ask you to remember that although the sadness you may hold in your heart overwhelms you, that you have found a part of you along this journey that will help you follow your dreams, whatever they may be.

Play your heart out today, and leave knowing you've given it all you've got just one last time. Leave knowing that you are one of the lucky ones. Remember the love, remember the defeat, remember the laughs and the tears, remember the battle wounds. Remember this feeling, always and forever.

Best of Luck,

Your Biggest Fan

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Being In A Toxic Relationship Has Impacted Any Type Of Relationship I Now Have

Trust me, I'm working hard on it.


Let me just start this off by saying that, I'm keeping this short and to the point. Also that, it's not that I'm not over it but it's something that will haunt me. With that being said, I was in the worst relationship for like a year and half and while we broke up almost three years ago, the negative thoughts still haunt me every now again.

So three years later seems like a long time to forget everything and move on, but the truth is while you do move on, you don't forget. You don't forget how they made you feel and how they made you look at the world. So naturally once the smallest, silliest thing happens with anybody I have any type of relationship with platonic or romantic, BOOM, you start to assume the worst and eventually ruin connections to people.

Like for instance, my ex used to just ignore me because he knew that it bothered me and got to me. Now, after that relationship, whether it's a friend or classmate or whomever, I automatically assume that because it's been a little while since I've heard from them, that means that they're ignoring me. Even though, I know that they're probably just busy with work or school or whatever it may be. I mean, we're all adults, we have responsibilities. My mind shouldn't go to, they're ignoring me.

I was blamed for every single "bad" thing that happened, there were no if, and or buts about it. Now, whenever something happens even if I know there's to way that it could be my fault, my mind automatically goes to what did I do? Like if my ex was having a bad day, it was my fault, even if I hadn't seen him all day... It actually takes me a minute to calm down and tell myself that I didn't do anything before I'm back to myself.

I don't open up to my friends and family like I used to, because the second I opened up to my ex, he used every thing I said to throw in my face.

So now whenever I''m talking to somebody I'm super quiet all the time and no one really knows anything about me and it keeps me pretty distant from every one in my life.

Staying quiet also means no communication, and that's a major part of any type of relationship. I stay quiet because I'm not really sure if I can fully trust the other person, even if they have given me absolutely no reason for me not to trust them.

I don't trust people for multiple reasons but a major one is because I'm afraid of being used again. I was used for way more things than I would like to admit and I ended up looking dumber than Karen Smith from Mean Girls.

On top of all of that, I feel like I'm always apologizing for things that don't need an apology. I guess I'm so used to automatically saying it that I don't even realize the word slips out of my mouth until after I say it or until I get asked why I'm sorry.

The word sorry shouldn't be a reflex.

But trust me, I'm working on it. I'm working on not assuming the worst when the smallest thing happens. I working on trusting the other person in any type of situation. I working on my communication. It's not all day, everyday that I think or act like that but it happens more often than I would like, which is crazy.

And I know I'm not the only one who acts like this and trust me, we're all trying our hardest.

Just a small piece of advice, you never know what people have been through, even if they talk a little about it, you'll never know completely what they've heard or seen. So please just be patient and understanding and give them some time. It doesn't hurt to ask how they're feeling, what's on their mind or what you can do for them, when you know that they aren't acting like themselves.

Related Content

Facebook Comments