Chantilly Letter: Celebrating Being American

Chantilly Letter: Celebrating Being American

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

“You don’t celebrate Easter?”

“No …”

“What about Memorial Day?”

“Yes. I am an American just like you!”

The script above is the dialogue I would usually encounter with other classmates on the playground growing up. As an American Muslim, I would not partake in Easter since it is a Christian holiday.

As I rushed home after school somedays I would ask my parents or siblings which holidays we could get excited about and celebrate. I was slightly puzzled since my family and I didn’t celebrate every holiday listed on our calendar. Other students in my class would get hyped about certain upcoming holidays and I was then informed that some of these events were celebrated by those of different faiths. All I knew at the time as a young child was that I was a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. I thought of Eid as being the Muslim community’s Christmas since as a kid I would get presents on that day. My family explained to me that we did celebrate Thanksgiving, Memorial, Independence and Veterans’ Day because those were holidays that could be enjoyed by every American citizen. It was exciting to know that I could sport red, white, blue attire on patriotic holidays. Having such holidays gave me purpose and identity of who I am and to which country I could preach my loyalty to. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) had said that, “Loyalty to one’s homeland is a part of faith.”

America has given its citizens religious freedom whereas in many countries people are not free to practice what they believe. Why shouldn’t I be loyal to my country?

A country that has never exposed me to darkness seen in other countries today. A country that has given me free education as a child and has given me the ability to be taught alongside other children of diverse backgrounds.

Woody Guthrie’s, “This Land is Your Land,” still plays in my head till this day:

“This land is your land, This land is my land

From California to the New York island;

From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters

This land was made for you and me.”

This song didn’t mean much to me in music class in elementary school but as an adult, I appreciate and understand the strong message it can enforce in the minds of young Americans.

Marium Sadia Sosan Malik