The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang is well underway, and the coverage is nothing short of historical events. Before the games, the U.S. Olympic Team is the largest of any nation, 244 athletes (135 men, 109 women) to be exact (teamusa.org). We are also the most diverse group of 10 African-American Athletes, 11 Asian-American athletes and the first openly gay athletes, freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy and figure skater Adam Rippon.
There is always this sense that American values are the epitome of all other nations, but American's today somehow forget how this country began. If there is American exceptionalism, then it is the people of all nations that came to build this country.
The period of post 9/11 change the lives of many Americans, it most certainly turned mine for fear of another great war. The attacks altered American views on terrorism which led to an overhaul of both domestic and foreign policies. But I believe the effects bolstered our loyalty more than ever and created a sense of unity in the midst of diversity and terror.
We showed the world that the American people are the stars of humanity and the attack on us is an attack on the whole world. We all have different feelings toward the terror attacks, but collectively we stand together and continue to remember the victims every year.
Recently, I was reading President Reagan's farewell speech for my foreign policy class. The story that he told about the sailor and refugee struck me the most. In his remarks, he recalls,
"As the refugees made their way through the choppy seas, one spied the sailor on deck, and stood up, and called out to him. He yelled, 'Hello, American sailor. Hello, freedom man.' A small moment with significant meaning, a moment the sailor, who wrote it in a letter, couldn't get out of his mind. And, when I saw it, neither could I" (Reagan, 1989).
This is the America that I believe and the freedom that every nation aspires. It gives me great pride knowing that we have always stood for freedom time and time again.
This week we are even breaking more barriers, Chris Mazder won silver in the luge men's singles competition. He is the first American to win a medal in this event. Chloe Kim at seventeen years old is the youngest snowboarder to win an Olympic gold medal. Figure skater Mirai Nagasu is the first American woman in history to land the triple Axel jump. Lastly, snowboarder Shaun White seized the 100th U.S. Winter Olympic gold medal. American exceptionalism or not, this is what we are. We are worthy of admiration, and we are truly exceptional.
GO TEAM USA!