Paul is a retired American expat living in Thailand. Besides being an English teacher and translator, Paul likes languages and most sports.
Flag of the United States of America
Proud to be a U.S. American
Throughout my whole life, I have always felt proud to be an American citizen. I felt a sense of pride while serving in the U.S. Navy and even more pride in my accomplishments during a federal government career. There have been five defining moments in my life that have made me extremely proud to be an American. The events around these moments have demonstrated the true characteristics of my country's fabric: hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance.
Five Proud American Moments
There have been many national and international events during my life that have made me feel proud to be an American. The following five events, however, are the most significant:
1. VJ Day on August 15, 1945
Although I was only a year old when World War II ended, I heard a lot about my late mother's war experience when I got older. Mom worked in a defense plant during the war, and one day she happened to show me a diary she kept during the war. I can still remember her entry for VJ Day: "Today the war ended. Paulie, you will never know what we all had to sacrifice and endure." For almost four years, as a member of the Allies, America was locked in a vicious struggle with the Axis nations of Japan, Italy, and Germany. Without hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance there would have been no victory.
2. Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962
At the time of the two-week Cuban missile crisis in 1962, I was in my first year of college and very busy with classes. What I do remember, however, is that it undoubtedly was one of the major confrontations between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. When the U.S. discovered that Cuba was constructing missile sites for medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic nuclear missiles directed toward the U.S. provided by the USSR, the United States initiated a military blockade of Cuba. The purpose of this was to prevent the Soviet Union's delivery of offensive weapons to Cuba. The confrontation ended on October 28 when the U.S., U.N., and USSR reached an agreement. In the open agreement, the United States agreed to never invade Cuba again, and the Soviet Union agreed to dismantle the Cuban missile sites and return its offensive missiles to the USSR. Secretly, the United States agreed to dismantle the US-built intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBM) deployed in Turkey and Italy. Due to President Kennedy's outstanding leadership in this dark hour, the country and I felt very proud that he didn't back down and let the Soviet Union have its way in Cuba.
3. Neil Armstrong's Moon Walk on July 21, 1969
When Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission, I was stationed in Taiwan with the U.S. Navy. I will never forget how proud I felt walking around Taipei on the evening I learned that the Eagle had landed. At his inauguration in January of 1961, I can still remember President Kennedy saying that America will put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Although there were setbacks and astronauts sacrificed their lives, America did live up to Kennedy's prediction. The moon landing also showed that America had defeated the Soviets in the space race which was extremely important at the time.
4. The U.S. Hockey Team's Victory Over the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics
The U.S. hockey team's miracle victory at Lake Placid, New York, couldn't have come at a better time. At the time, I was living in Ohio after having recently returned from overseas. The U.S. was encountering rough times both at home and abroad. Inflation was running at double digits. Internationally, the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan and Iran was holding our embassy personnel hostage. Then, out of nowhere, a team of college kids defeated the Great Bear. As Americans, this gave us a sense of pride and great encouragement that we could do anything if we put our minds to it.
5. The Fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989
The Berlin Wall was the number one symbol of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviets. By the late 1980s, the Cold War had been going on for over 40 years. Its accompanying nuclear-armed missile race was the only thing I had known growing up, When the Soviet empire started to crumble in the late 1980s, we knew that all of our hard work was starting to pay off. I was working for the federal government when news came that the Berlin Wall was finally down. A few months later, all of us received commendations for our efforts during the Cold War.
There will be more defining moments of American pride in the future. As long as Americans maintain their hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance, I am confident that the United States of America can confront any difficulty or adversary and come out victorious.
Fall of Berlin Wall
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2011 Paul Richard Kuehn
Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on December 02, 2017:
Thank you for your thoughts and opinions. Do you really think pure socialism or communism is best for the United States?
Sanxuary on December 02, 2017:
There are no proud American moments left. If this tax bill passes Americans will finally realize their leaders no longer represent them. Its a lie America and the rebellion will soon come. Its long over due and if you thought the french revoulution was bad wait until this one gets here. There is no future and we will arrive when the World ends. Those who lead us today are ending 100 years of lies where we were the slaves to their plans. They have no ethics or morals and their God does not exist and is the one you deny for you practice nothing true or good. They claim one thing you hate and you embrace evil on all other things. You fail to practice what you believe and sell your souls to the sick for this nation has been sickened both old and young by the forked toungues of the rich and those empowered. You deserve to be taxed and never better off so that the rich own you and forsake you whenever they prosper. Worship the devil you claim to be so wise to see why you play the fool who claims to know anything about God. You are forsaken and desrve judgement so that those who see the truth no longer have to suffer because of fools. This country will suffer and will end in discrace unless we rise in defiance and no longer care about how many of us they will kill. We all die why does it matter if we hate what we have become and tell all we meet enough is enough please kill us. Its better then electing those who no longer represent us and whom make us their slaves. Should our children be their slaves? Let the rebellion begin.
Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on April 08, 2013:
Thank you for reading and commenting on this hub. I really hope there will continue to be more proud American moments in my lifetime. I appreciate you sharing this hub.
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 08, 2013:
Very interesting read Paul. Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon was a historic event as were the others.Voting this up, interesting and sharing.
Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on January 14, 2013:
Yes, the weeks after 9/11 also made me proud to be an American. I remember many people flying flags from their cars and also attaching them to mailboxes.
Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on January 14, 2013:
Thanks for reading this hub and your great encouraging comments. I especially appreciate the sharing.
KevinC9998 on January 13, 2013:
The most vivid memory that I have of being a proud American was the weeks shortly after 9/11 where it seemed that EVERY house flew an American flag. It was beautiful and made you stop to reflect.
C E Clark from North Texas on January 13, 2013:
I remember 3 of the events you list. Never having been a sports fan, I have no idea who won what events in the Olympics the last time they were held. I have no issue with sports or people playing or watching them, they just don't interest me personally. I realize they make a lot of worthwhile contributions in many areas.
Anyway, this is a great hub and a walk down Memory Lane. Voted up, interesting, and really awesome in it's subject matter and presentation. Will share.
Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on June 25, 2011:
I remember them, too. Was born a few months after Pearl Harbor. My uncle was there, spent the war in the Pacific and prepared for invasion of Japan. As it happened he was part of the occupying forces rather than an invader.
I was in college on that November Friday, too. wrote a hub about it
Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 25, 2011:
Thanks for the comment GNelson. Yes, I do vividly remember JFK's death. I was in college and had just finished a class. It was about noon on a Friday and everyone on campus was in shock.
GNelson from Florida on June 25, 2011:
I missed V-J day by a month or so. But I can identify with the others. I would add JFK's death. It shook me out of my youth. Good hub. Made me think.