Saturday, July 6, 2013 | 2 a.m.
What does it mean to be an American? To me, it means being born into a country, as a person of mixed race, when times were very different; members of nonwhite races were not allowed the same chances to achieve their goals as the “ruling class;” non-whites who happened to live in the South were subject to the most terrible of life situations.
And yet, we had “governing documents,” written by the most brilliant minds of the time, which defined a country that guaranteed citizens the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The Constitution, a monumental document that has withstood the passing of time, is the envy of governments around the world; the Gettysburg Address, the Declaration of Independence, the judicial system — all attesting to the promise of liberty and justice for all.
My parents taught me all these things. My country (starting with the local Board of Education) recognized my small talents as a little girl of 5, and sent me to a school where I could learn at the level of which I was capable.
That’s what happens when one lives in the United States of America. I was able to continue my education and the realization of my dreams and ambitions. I can now look back on my life, my success in my three careers, not the least of which was working in the national defense systems.
These things, which I have lived, have created my view of what it means to be an American. I am proud of what I gave back my country, in return for what it gave to me, a person who did not fit the “mold” at that time in our history.