Why America is great

‘I did it. Thanks America!’

The Washington Times Daily - - OPINION - By So­fya Bakuria So­fya Bakuria, from the coun­try Ge­or­gia, is study­ing In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions.

After a 14-hour flight from Tbil­isi, Ge­or­gia on Jan. 11, 2016, my plane landed at Dulles In­ter­na­tional Air­port. This was my first visit to the United States, a coun­try which I had long ad­mired for many years. America. Where Ron­ald Rea­gan as pres­i­dent saved the world from the threat of com­mu­nism and brought free­dom to hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple.

For my mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion in Ge­or­gia, Mr. Rea­gan’s legacy was idol­ized. I wasn’t yet born when the Ber­lin wall came down, but I grew up in the former Soviet Repub­lic of Ge­or­gia, a beautiful coun­try the size of Mary­land. My fa­ther came to the United States in 2004 and we ap­plied for my “Green­card.” I waited im­pa­tiently for it to ar­rive.

I was al­ways yearn­ing to come to America, and most of the in­for­ma­tion when I was younger flick­ered on the screen of a small theatre in Tbil­isi. There were beautiful love sto­ries, ad­ven­tures, sto­ries about in­de­pen­dent dream­ers and schemers.

And then I ar­rived. It’s hard to ex­press my ini­tial im­pressions. Feel­ings were so strong. I re­mem­ber smil­ing faces at the air­port, a friendly at­mos­phere and a feel­ing of free­dom and lib­erty in the air. Ev­ery­one I met was po­lite. Ev­ery­one said, “Have a good day.”

My fa­ther took me to the White House, where I stared at the por­traits and walked the same halls as Roo­sevelt, Kennedy, Rea­gan and Bush. So much his­tory in one place. It’s a mo­ment I’ll never for­get. Then we went to Capi­tol Hill. The wide mar­ble halls with law­mak­ers and aides scur­ry­ing, re­porters car­ry­ing tape ma­chines and iPhones. This, I said to my­self, was the heart­beat of democ­racy. America over­came the mil­i­tary su­per­power of the day at its found­ing, led the way in de­feat­ing Nazism and Com­mu­nism, and has been the world leader in ex­plor­ing ev­ery­thing from the swamps to the stars. I agree with Ron­ald Rea­gan when he said “America truly is the last best hope for man on earth.”

Dreams come true in America, and I do be­lieve my own dreams will come true. The main thing I learned, as ev­ery for­eigner must, is that wish­ing is not enough. We need to work, do a good job and never lose hope. No mat­ter how many peo­ple tell you that you can’t do it — keep going. Don’t quit.

Pa­tience is our best friend. Ev­ery­day, I meet new and in­ter­est­ing peo­ple. I am be­com­ing more in­de­pen­dent. I do not look through rose-col­ored glasses. Un­ex­pected joys and sor­rows in life do hap­pen; these sur­prises may make you smile or bring tears to your eyes. I re­call Char­lie Chap­lin’s say­ing: “Noth­ing is per­ma­nent in this wicked world, not even our trou­bles.”

Com­pe­ti­tion is an un­der­ly­ing theme in America. You can only win with knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence. Com­pe­ti­tion can be pos­i­tive, since it mo­ti­vates us and chal­lenges us to do our best. A good ed­u­ca­tion is not a lux­ury in America. No mat­ter your race, color or creed, college is avail­able. Dream big. Be­come a doc­tor, or lawyer. Be­come a star in the arts or tech field. Ed­u­ca­tion will help my gen­er­a­tion change the world. I know my rights will never be re­stricted in this coun­try. My ef­forts and hard work will never be wasted.

Peo­ple in this coun­try are not in­ter­ested in whose child you are, or wife, or hus­band, as in other coun­tries. They look at what you can do on your own.

There is free me­dia, and supremacy of law. All of us are equal, with the right to vote, the right to ex­press our opin­ions, the right to wish for a bet­ter life and make that dream come true. Our free­dom ends with the sup­pres­sion of other peo­ple’s rights. No mat­ter how many sleep­less nights work­ing or study­ing, the end re­sult is al­ways the same. Work­ing to­ward a goal.

I be­lieve that no mat­ter what your age, you can find suc­cess in America. This coun­try of­fers my gen­er­a­tion so much; peace and se­cu­rity in a strong Demo­cratic en­vi­ron­ment. In the spirit of Ron­ald Rea­gan, I be­lieve America has al­ways been great. That’s why, when I ful­fill my goals, I will proudly say, “I did it. Thanks America!”

Com­pe­ti­tion can be pos­i­tive, since it mo­ti­vates us and chal­lenges us to do our best.

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