THIS WEEK’S ARCHIVE PICK
Love in Wartime
By Maxine Kumin
It’s an epistolary romance set at the end of WWII—with a top-secret mission to boot. In our Autumn 2012 issue, the late Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Maxime Kumin wrote about how, as a junior at Radcliffe College, she fell in love with Victor, an Army sergeant working to develop the atomic bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Separated by thousands of miles and strict government secrecy, they relied on letters and visited as frequently as the Army and Kumin’s studies would allow. As their relationship developed, the soon-to-be-engaged couple also exchanged ideas on subjects like rhetorical strategy, socialism, and, after August 6, 1945, the ramifications of the atomic bomb.
Best-of lists from bad romances to Shakespearean verse
The Guest List
We ask our favorite writers about their favorite titles
The Daily Scholar Archives
The complete collection of our blogs, including Zinsser on Friday and our weekly Writing Lessons
Works you won’t find in print, from the likes of Harold Holzer, Wendy Smith, and Neil Shea
The Seabird’s Cry
By Adam Nicolson
Adam Nicolson’s look at the great avian ocean voyagers
What does it mean to be an American?
To be an American to me means that I am free. That when I grow up I can pick the job I want, what shift to work. And to have a good education. It means that I can say "The Pledge of Allegiance" and that I can vote for the President, my county clerk, and the Mayor. But to me it means most of all to be free and to be proud that I live in the United States of America here in Wisconsin.
Ashley M., 10, Wisconsin
It means that you are free. It also means you can vote for who you want to.
Hannah K., 10, Wisconsin
I think it's cool being an American because we are free. The Pledge stands for everything.
Alex K., 10, Wisconsin
I think it means to be free. I wouldn't want to be from any other country.
Cheyenne L., 10, Wisconsin
It is great to be an American. We get to play sports and eat lots of food. We get lots of toys, all because we are free — the best thing of all.
Austin B., 11, Wisconsin
Being an American to me is being free. It also means to be fair.
Kaitlyn T., 10, Wisconsin
Being an American is about being free and loyal. It's about having freedom of religion, rights, and justice. It's also about being about yourself.
Sarah K., 10, Wisconsin
To be an American for me means freedom and justice. I also think being an American is a big responsibility.
Neil C., 10, Wisconsin
Being an American means that we are all treated equally no matter what color skin you have, and it doesn't matter what culture you are from. If you are an American you are mighty lucky because you will be free forever.
Cody S., 10, Wisconsin
I think that America is a great country and the First Amendment says it all.
Kane B., 10, Alabama
To be an American means you have the right and freedom to do what you want. It is great to be an American.
Whitley S., 11, Alabama
When I think about September 11, 2001, I walk up and down my neighborhood waving an American flag. On September 11, 2002, I will wear an American shirt to school.
Matt L., 12, Alabama
To be an American is great, because I have freedom of speech; I can go to school to get an education; I have a great family; and you can go where- ever you want to.
Ciara W., 10, Alabama
To me being an American means to be free. America is very special to me and my family. I would give anything for my country!
Sarah B., 11, Alabama
It means being special. Everyone is different and has a different personality. So you can be Italian, Mexican, or Irish, and still be an American. So be yourself.
Rachel P., 10, Alabama
I think being an American is having freedom, the Bill of Rights, and just one person can make a difference in America.
Jillian D., 10, Alabama
I love AMERICA because I have so many rights!! I love having freedom of speech, the freedom of voting, and the freedom of being your own individual. I love being able to have your own religious beliefs. I like that we have a democracy. I love being an American for these reasons and more!!!!!!!!!!!
Krista G., 10, Alabama
I think it means to support your family, community, and your state. And you could help your school by picking up trash and different things.
Justin B., 10, Alabama
I think that it means to support your community by doing things for it. You could join a trash pickup. You could donate money to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and many other things. You could join Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts and do things with them. But the most important thing is to allow freedom, meaning that people should allow other cultures and religions to be with your own culture.
Eugene D., 10, Alabama
Being an American to me means many things like being able to speak your mind; attend the church you want to attend; celebrate the holidays you want to celebrate; and be a slave to no one. September 11 has proved that all the above are true here in America, and we should all be very thankful to be Americans. Peace!
Sarai B., 11, Oregon
To be an American means more than good restaurants, burgers, fries, and chicken nuggets. It means to have faith and to have trust in every American around you. It doesn't matter what color you are. You are an American. It doesn't matter what you wear. What it means to be an American is more than what you think...because I will live my life ...my way. GOD BLESS THE U.S!
Nilam V., 10, South Carolina
To be an American. Many take this phrase too lightly others, too strict. Being an American does not mean that you go to baseball games and eat hot dogs, but to live your life out to the fullest, not just waving around a flag every day. Being an American is to help another, whether it be Polish or Chinese or Afghan or Muslim. Being an American means helping your sworn enemy, even if you do not wish, but you shall help with dignity and pride. Being American means that you capture the true essence of every being, from the simplest little flower to the most-beautiful person in the world. Being American means to be united as one, under whatever deity you worship, and to be able to depend, rely, and give hope to each other. Because being American does not just mean living in America, every person has a part of being an American in them, deep inside, embedded, until they wish to release that piece, and share it with the world. That is what a true American is.
Jonathan B., 12, Hawaii
To be an American is the greatest thing in the world. We have freedom and liberty. We also have a very diverse country which means we are stronger because we have to learn all the different ways of living. I am very lucky to be an American.
Morgan A., 11, Kentucky
Click here to send your own comments on what it means to be an American.