NEW YORK—America is known as a land of opportunity, prosperity, and liberty, all of which are points of pride for Americans.
The Epoch Times went around the Winter Village at Bryant Park in New York City during this festive season of goodwill to ask people what makes them proud to be an American. Here’s what they had to say.
Dave Ward, 54, business owner
Christine Acosta, 56, business owner
Mr. Ward: Freedom, prosperity, the American dream, our Declaration of Independence, [and] the Constitution of the United States of America, which establishes all our rights. Those are the things that I love and what makes me even more proud to be an American.
Ms. Acosta: We have a lot going for us and the opportunity to make it better, meaning individuals can be civically engaged and fight for what we believe is important. I’m an immigrant, my parents are immigrants, and I believe that America, despite our flaws, continues to be the land of the free, where we can work hard and prosper.
Kim Gilbert (R), 42, operations manager
Tonia Young, 41, sales manager
Ms. Gilbert: Of course, the fact primarily that we’re free, free to do just about anything, pray as we want, get whatever kind of job we want, live wherever. We don’t live in fear. We also have good programs for the underprivileged. Other countries don’t, so a person can come here and know that, in some way, they can be taken care of.
Ms. Young: Freedom of speech, so many freedoms.
A.J. Spercher, 44, engineer
Mr. Spercher: Freedom to be able to do stuff like this [ice skating in the park].
Opportunity, entrepreneurship, you can grow a business if you want to, and living without worrying about other folks coming in and trying to take your stuff from you.
Sarah Britt, 34, nanny
Nancy Kalleher, 73, retired, from Maine
Ms. Britt: I’m actually an American who grew up in another country. I grew up in the Netherlands, but I’ve been living here again for nine years. So, I’m an American ex-pat and now back to being an American. It’s very different.
I’m very proud of New York. I think New York thinks a lot about a lot of people—a lot of public spaces, there are a lot of things that are free. So I think that that is a great thing about New York. The subway for $2.75—you can go anywhere, it’s very accessible for a lot of people, It makes me proud to be a New Yorker.
Mrs. Kalleher: It’s a beautiful country. It has a lot of beautiful parks and the parks are amazing, very diverse.
Naji Johnson, 24, line cook
Mr. Johnson: Mostly because of the opportunity. There is a lot of opportunity here that other people don’t have in other countries. We may take it for granted every day. There’s so much freedom here, they say it’s hard, but it’s hard because it’s worth having.
Evangeline Dennie, 35, architect
Ms. Dennie: The diversity of the country. I find the diversity of the country provides a place where I feel comfortable. Because I’m of mixed race, I fit in better here. You can fit in anywhere here.
Michael Smith, 65, operations manager for a trucking company
Mr. Smith: The fact that I think we’re the freest country in the world, and I guess probably too lenient with other people here. This was where I was born, it’s where I live. I don’t really want to leave the country. I’ve been to Canada, Mexico, and that’s it. I have no desire to go anyplace else.
Jackie Habermacher, 53, nurse practitioner
Ms. Habermacher: The diversity that we have here, and the opportunities that are afforded us.
Dan Bowman, 60 financial officer, from Colorado
Beth Bowman, 62, receptionist, from Colorado
Mr. Bowman: I’ve always lived here. I grew up here: I was born here, raised here. I’ve visited other places in the world, there are lots of nice places to visit but there’s no place like home. It has standards that we are accustomed to that we don’t always see elsewhere.
Mrs. Bowman: I appreciate the freedoms that we enjoy and take for granted many times.
Andrea Cashman (L), 62, yoga teacher
Dina Cashman, 25, social media manager
Andrea: I’m proud of our ability to question authority. Even if we’re not happy with it. we can speak out about it. I’m proud of the people who’ve stepped up in recent times to express themselves. Even when there are down times, there’s an upside to it, if we keep looking to the positive.
Dina: Unfortunately, there’s so much tragedy, but it’s nice to see in the news when people are helping others when those times happen. That’s something I’m proud of—people helping others, which you don’t see a lot of, but when you do, it’s nice to see.
Stuart Liess/The Epoch Times
Christopher Samaroo, 36, unemployed
Mr. Samaroo: It’s the best nation. It’s what the United States stands for, one nation united under God, indivisible and strong.
Interviews have been edited for clarity and brevity