America Essay Contest: Each State in Our Union Has a Distinct Personality

November 20, 2020 Updated: November 20, 2020

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America,

How do I love thee?  

Let me count the ways.

—Sonnet 43, Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I love our founding principles as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. As we struggle to honor them, I am continually reminded of the ideas and sacrifices of the brave men who created them. They pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to create a nation that is one of the world’s greatest achievements and a grand experiment in freedom. Is America perfect? No. But is she good, beautiful, and clearly worth defending? Yes—then and now.

Even though we are the “United States of America,” I love how every state in our union has a distinct personality. There is so much history and beauty in this amazing nation. I have visited most of the 50 states, and enjoy the vast array of people, landscapes, traditions, and unique cuisine associated with each.

I love the wide open spaces in Colorado where I first went to college, the small towns in Michigan where my parents and grandparents grew up, and the grand old cities like Boston where you can find amazing seafood and the resting place of Edgar Allen Poe. I love Philadelphia, where I ate zucchini blossoms in a quaint Northern Italian restaurant and walked to the Liberty Bell on a cold winter day in fresh and crunchy snow. I love Canyon De Chelly and the Grand Canyon’s amazing vistas, and sunrise at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley.

Have you ever experienced alligator gumbo, Cajun crawfish or beignets sprinkled with powdered sugar in New Orleans? Have you taken a boat trip in the evening to see the Statue of Liberty shining her light on New York City? Attending a rodeo in Texas, visiting Pike Place Market in Seattle, or driving the road to Hana in Hawaii, are all totally different adventures. I also love Washington, D.C., where I once lived, marveling at the amazing architecture and the excitement of attending many White House events. Most of all, I feel at home near the Pacific Ocean where I grew up and now live again. The California coast is one of our country’s greatest road trips, and the beach at the end of each day is an incredibly peaceful and refreshing place.

I love the freedom I have had to learn, grow, and become all I can be. As a young girl I always wanted to know “why” and sought answers from books and people whom I respected. I grew up during a time when public education proudly taught our history and founding principles, and the culture rewarded hard work and responsible behavior.

With additional education, mentoring, and support from many fellow Americans, I became part of the movement that “broke the glass ceiling” for women in the workplace in the 1970s. Starting out as a typist in the typing pool, I worked my way through corporate America, attended evening classes to finish two degrees, and eventually became a senior contract administrator and then an ombudsman. Our office reported to the president of a major division in a Fortune 500 corporation. What other country would have offered so many possibilities?

I love knowing that we are “one nation under God” and I pray that this beacon of hope will never cease to shine throughout the world. Our very special nation stands for liberty and freedom, justice and the rule of law, unalienable human rights and equal opportunity for all. Defending our founding principles with passionate courage is as critical now as it was during our nation’s birth. May God continue to bless the United States of America.

Janet Newcomb lives in Huntington Beach, California, and currently serves on the international Board of Trustees of the Community Associations Institute, in addition to her work as a management consultant and career transition expert.

This essay was entered in the Epoch Times “Why I Love America” contest.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.