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What It Means To Be An American


Dearest Elena,

This month we have a very special holiday, the 4th of July! Our book, WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN AMERICAN by Rana DiOno and Elad Yorn is important because it’s about the essence of being an American. Mommy chose this book because right now, more than ever, it is important to know why we’re so fortunate to live in America.

In the beginning it asks, What does it mean to be American? Is it the things we do on July 4th like eating apple pie and seeing fireworks? No. Does it mean loving fast food? No. This book lays out some of the most unique and special characteristics of the American heritage. I love that it highlights the beautiful freedoms and rights we all share, but more importantly, it reminds us what a privilege it is to be an American and have these rights. Mommy wants you to understand that the core of being American is to be a free people, and that’s a privilege. We are extremely lucky and so we need to really appreciate it.

The book begins with our belief that all people are equal and should have the opportunity to be happy. . You do this by following your dreams and working hard to achieve them. You see, Elena, many countries do not have the basic freedom to choose how to lead their lives. With freedom we have the opportunity to choose who to love, what to believe, what to do and where to live. It talks of our freedom to use our imagination and creativity to invent new things, and to use our curiosity and courage to explore new frontiers. The United States gives every American these rights for having been born here, and that’s incredible. It is truly amazing. We are proud of all the accomplishments that our freedoms have afforded us and we need to be very grateful and never take them for granted. These basic freedoms are so crucial to being happy. I want you to appreciate that not every country is like the United States. July 4th is the day America became a nation. It’s our country’s birthday!

As Americans we lead by example and take action when people need help. We welcome people from other countries. Our differences make us kinder, smarter, healthier and stronger. We believe that the people who are strong need to help others who are weaker so they can be in a better place. Being an American also means that although we are proud, we need to be humble because there is so much more we need to learn. Know that Mommy is humbled when she learns something new. Every day she learns from being a mother and those lessons seem magical to her.

Mommy is grateful for this gorgeous country that has so incredibly blessed her and Daddy with the freedom to choose one another as life partners, to live as we desire and to have you. Elena, please remember to choose Kindness to lead you throughout your journey. That is expression of your gratitude for your many blessings, greatest of which is your birthright as an American. Kindness is how well you treat others. It comes straight from the best part of your heart. It reflects the beauty of your character and what you are made of. . There is nothing you could do to make us happier or more proud than by being kind and caring to others.

It is Mommy’s greatest hope that all men should feel a sense of brotherhood and harmony with every person they see. If Mommy could embrace everyone in the world and give them a huge hug she would, but for now she hopes you’ll continue to let her hug you as much as possible and smother you with hundreds of kisses every day. Happy Birthday, America!

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