It’s true that America’s virtues of opportunity, freedom, mutual respect and community – among others – have drawn people to our shores since our country’s founding. But what also has drawn them here, perhaps more than anything else, is our country’s character.
Character goes deeper than free enterprise or patriotism or pursuing a career and raising a family.
Hall of Fame college basketball coach John Wooden, who won 10 national championships as head coach of UCLA, famously said that character is what you do “when no one is watching.” Every day, Americans quietly sacrifice for one another when no one is watching.
They volunteer in their communities to help others in need. They lead food drives and clothing drives, they serve and minister to their neighbors as well as complete strangers. They leave home to serve our country around the world to protect our way of life, often in places that are very dangerous.
Our armed forces include one million African-Americans, about half a million Hispanic Americans, over 33,000 Japanese Americans, over 20,000 Chinese Americans and over 24,000 American Indians. A united front willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the whole country.
Character is also engrained in America’s respect for the minority. Whether it’s a small town hall gathering or in our nation’s capital: the minority gets a voice, the minority gets heard, and sometimes the minority persuades the majority.
People all over the world see everyday Americans willing to sacrifice in order to protect freedom and opportunity for generations to come. They see that everyone gets a voice and is respected.
They see character.