I am America
by Helen Nolden

When I was working for North Dakota Seniors United, the United States of America celebrated it’s 200th birthday. Our Director, Dave Meiers, asked me to write an article for the Bicentennial. I wrote, “I am America”. I was thrilled when my article was picked up by newspapers all over the country.

Helen Rice Nolden


I was there when the Declaration of Independence was written. I helped dump the tea in Boston Harbor. I listened to the shot that was heard around the world. I crossed the Delaware and stood barefoot in the snow with Washington at Valley Forge. I waited with bated breath for the lantern in the Old North Church and I rode with Paul Revere into the night. I AM AMERICA.

I am the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor and the Golden Gate Bridge of California. I am the Peace Garden of North Dakota and the Alamo of Texas. I am the white sands on the beach at Nantucket and the roaring Colorado River. I listen to a symphony of Leonard Bernstein and a folk song of Stephen Foster. I fought on the beaches of Guadalcanal and froze at the Battle of the Bulge. I see the majestic beauty of the golden wheat fields of the plains and the grandeur of the Rockies. I am the quiet waters of Lake Tahoe and the magnificent splendor of Niagara Falls. I AM AMERICA.

I am the melting pot of the world. I drive the trucks across the continent and sail with the fishing boats off the coast of Main. I am Edison, Mt. McKinley, Death Valley and Alexander G. Bell. I sent a man to the moon. I hear the Metropolitan Opera and the Rock Concert in an open field. I am Nathan Hale and John F. Kennedy. I am the coalfields of Pennsylvania and Kentucky. I left many of my sons in Flanders Field fighting a war to end all wars. I am the Minute Men, Davy Crockett, Sitting Bull and Abraham Lincoln. I am old. I am young. Rich and Poor. I AM AMERICA.

I am St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Mission at Capistrano, the Mormon Temple and thousands of churches that span my length. I am Harvard, Yale, Notre Dame, Stanford and the hundreds of schools that dot my width. I remember the Maine and Pearl Harbor. I am the World Series, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Lou Gehrig and Catfish Hunter. I am the lush evergreens of Vermont and the sparseness of the Mohave Desert. I left my heroes on the rocks of Corregidor and in the steaming jungles of Vietnam. I am the noise of New York City and the awesome silence of the Grand Canyon. I was with Francis Scott Key during the shelling of Ft. McHenry and I was aboard the Missouri in Tokyo Bay. I AM AMERICA.

I am Longfellow, Sandburg, Whitman and Robert Frost. The Editorials of my thousands of newspapers speak to me without suppression. I am the ballot box to vote as my conscience dictates. My children worship their God with the reverence they choose. I am Betsy Ross, Susan B. Anthony, Sacagawea and Eleanor Roosevelt. I am the rugged pioneer who blazed a trail from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Henry Ford, Boys Town, Chief Joseph and the Nautilus are mine. I have laughed with Hope and Chaplin. I am Jim Thorpe, Jessie Owens, Mark Spitz, and Babe Zaharias. I have cried for my children through disasters and poverty. I AM AMERICA.

I am big. I stretch from the Polar Region of Alaska to the tropical forests of Hawaii, from the Gulf Stream to Chesapeake Bay, from Puget Sound to the Florida Keys. I am Helen Keller, Grandma Moses, Clara Barton and Rose Kennedy. I built a network of railroads like so many arteries through the great northwest plains, mountains and wilderness. I flew in The Spirit of St. Louis with Lucky Lindy. I AM AMERICA.

I am the heartbeat of 220 million living people and the silent testimony of the thousands of souls who died giving me life. I was conceived in Liberty and born on the 4 th of July. My Baptism was the American Revolution, my Confirmation the Constitution. The Civil War was my Unity. The blood of all nations surges through my veins. YES, I AM AMERICA.

Back to History Page