Whenever I hear the question I think of the following quote: America right or wrong. To keep her right if she is right, to make her right if she is wrong.
I think to be an American citizen means you have more freedom and rights than people living in any other nation on the planet. Often you hear people talking as if we lived in the most opressive country in the world. They forget that the rights guaranteed them by the Constitution apply to all citizens, not just themselves.
The two words that come to mind when contemplating my American citizenship are "Freedom" and "Responsibility." Though there have been periods in our history when we have denied freedoms to certain groups, on the large part, Americans have had the freedom of opportunity to choose our religion, occupation, means of happiness, etc. We are a land of opportunity, making our citizenship desired by many. Yet in addition to enjoying our freedoms, we must also accept responsibilities. As the old saying goes, "Freedom isn't free." In order to maintain our level of freedom it is necessary to constantly defend and nuture it. We have the responsibility to become informed citizens, participate in the electoral process, help those in need, etc. With the attack on our nation Sept. 11, I believe people appreciate their freedom more, and have accepted the responsibilities of its defense. This is evident in many ways, such as the rush to help the victims of the attacks and the willingness to endure the extra wait for security checks. With the current attacks fresh in our memories, it is easy to value our freedoms and citizenship, but as these events fade into memory I hope Americans keep alive a portion of the patriotism displayed after these attacks.