aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,
aefenglommung
aefenglommung

"They walk like free men."

My father told me once that when he was stationed overseas during WW 2 (North Africa and Italy), the locals described Americans thusly: "They walk like free men."

In other words, I suppose, no looking over your shoulder, no worrying about who might have heard what you just said, a friendly greeting for everyone, an indifference to class distinctions, boundless optimism . . .

A common version going around at the same time as my father's personal observation compared the English soldiers to American ones. It went, "The English walk down the street as if they owned it; the Americans walk down the street as if they didn't give a damn who owned it."

All people love their country, or should. But there's something special about America. It doesn't make us "better" than the rest of the world; nevertheless, there's a reason why so many people want to come here. It's called freedom: political freedom, religious freedom, economic freedom, freedom even to not give a damn.

Simply put, there is more freedom here than almost anywhere else in the world. We didn't create it. We found it. It's like a goose laying golden eggs. All we have to do is not kill it. And we can continue to "walk like free men."
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