Roy Exum: To Kill An American

Monday, September 3, 2018 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum
It is no secret I get hundreds of emails from a vast array of sources every day. My biggest regret is that I cannot answer all of them, especially those that are kind and boost my spirits, because it would take hours, but I try to read every one of them and am exceedingly grateful.
In my emails there are also many stories, most unattributed. Many times Snopes or Fact-Check will turn a good tale into fiction yet – I’ll admit – I’ve taken the bait several times, only to be corrected by my readers. Then again, many of my ideas for stories each day spring from emails forwarded to me and I love that.
66px;">This week there came one, “To Kill An American.” It was purportedly written by an Australian dentist and, upon checking, there are almost exact versions allegedly written by a Canadian war veteran, a Romanian journalist, and goodness knows who else. But the true source may be the best story of all as we enjoy the holiday.
This story, properly titled, “What is an American?” was actually written on Sept. 25, 2001, by Peter Ferrara, who at the time was an associate professor of law at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. You will note the date is only 14 days after the darkest day in the history of our country – the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Because we will remember the horrors and must also forever cherish how this nation survived and overcame them, allow me to present the Mr. Ferrara’s 2001 story from the National Review on this Labor Day with a simple prayer: “Lord, never let us forget who we are.”
* * *
What Is An American?
By Peter Ferrara, writing in the National Review on Sept. 25, 2001 
You probably missed this in the rush of news, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper, an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American; any American. 
So I just thought I would write to let them know what an American is, so they would know when they found one.
An American is English…or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani, or Afghan.
An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them choose.
An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.
An American is from the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God-given right of each man and woman to the pursuit of happiness.
An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need. When Afghanistan was overrun by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country. As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan.
An American does not have to obey the mad ravings of ignorant, ungodly cruel, old men. American men will not be fooled into giving up their lives to kill innocent people, so that these foolish old men may hold on to power. American women are free to show their beautiful faces to the world, as each of them choose.
An American is free to criticize his government's officials when they are wrong, in his or her own opinion. Then he is free to replace them, by majority vote.
Americans welcome people from all lands, all cultures, all religions, because they are not afraid. They are not afraid that their history, their religion, their beliefs, will be overrun, or forgotten. That is because they know they are free to hold to their religion, their beliefs, their history, as each of them choose.
And just as Americans welcome all, they enjoy the best that everyone has to bring, from all over the world. The best science, the best technology, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best athletes.
Americans welcome the best, but they also welcome the least. The nation symbol of America welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed.
These in fact are the people who built America. Many of them were working in the twin towers on the morning of September 11, earning a better life for their families.
So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo and Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung, and every bloodthirsty tyrant in the history of the world.
But in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.
So look around you. You may find more Americans in your land than you thought were there. One day they will rise up and overthrow the old, ignorant, tired tyrants that trouble too many lands. Then those lands too will join the community of free and prosperous nations.
And America will welcome them.
* * *
As we celebrate Labor Day, a reminder can’t hurt.

Elect Leaders To Preserve Signal Mountain's Small Town Character

Dear Signal Mountain Residents,  Do you care deeply about preserving Signal Mountain's natural beauty and small town character? We do. Over the past year, the town has faced requests to rezone residential properties for commercial use.   These requests might have been approved by the majority of our council, if not for the multitude of residents speaking out against ... (click for more)

East Brainerd For Joda Thongnopnua

Joda Thongnopnua has my vote for District 30 State House of Representatives. I have supported both Republicans and Democrats in the past and I’m very happy that someone of Joda’s caliber is running for this open seat. I have worked alongside Joda professionally and I’ve seen firsthand his work ethic and his great ability to work with others to come up with the best solution.  ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy High ROTC Instructor Denies He Had Gun In Road Rage Incident, But Judge Sends Case To Grand Jury

A Soddy Daisy ROTC instructor has denied having a gun in a road rage incident with a 17-year-old girl at Northgate Mall, but General Sessions Court Judge Gary Starnes bound the case to the Grand Jury. The judge said,"It's a very close issue. It's he said, she said. I don't think it's going to get out of the Grand Jury, but I am going to find there is probable cause." The girl ... (click for more)

Federal Judge In Nashville Tells State To Halt Suspension Of Drivers Licenses Of Those Who Cannot Pay

 A Nashville federal judge has directed that the state halt suspension of the drivers licenses of people who cannot afford to pay fines and court costs. The ruling was from District Judge Aleta Trauger. Officials of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security said, "The department has received the order.  It will stop suspensions of licenses, as the Court requires, ... (click for more)

Knox Catholic Ends East Hamilton's Bid For Class 2A State Volleyball Title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – East Hamilton’s bid to reach the TSSAA Class 2A state tournament title game was dashed Wednesday night when the Lady Hurricanes fell to Knoxville Catholic, 3-0, for the second time in as many days. Scores were 25-23, 25-22 and 25-17. “It’s hard to come back after playing a really good match like we did against Camden,” East Hamilton coach Bojana Hyatt ... (click for more)

Sale Creek Whips Watertown, 3-0, For Shot At First Class 1A State Volleyball Title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Sale Creek wasn’t ready to head home short of its ultimate goal. And the roadblock Hickman County put up was nothing but a diminutive speed bump. Sale Creek (38-7) used its fast-paced attack to overwhelm the Lady Bulldogs, 3-0, Wednesday afternoon and remained alive in the loser’s bracket of the TSSAA Class 1A state volleyball tournament at Middle Tennessee ... (click for more)