‘America means everything to me’: Patriotism is still alive within Gen Z

‘No one’s ever heard of the ‘Australian Dream’ or the ‘French Dream’...America is the land of innovation, and it encourages and enables individuals to carry that out via enterprise.’

Worrying polls show that patriotism is down significantly among Gen Z Americans. But love for America is still alive in the youngest voting demographic.

I recently asked 20 Gen Z members what America means to them. These patriots are in the minority. Only 18% of young adults are “extremely proud” to be an American, according to a 2023 Gallup poll.  Nonetheless, their answers are reason for hope that patriotism is far from dead in our nation. 

“America means everything to me,” Liberty University student Austin Lay told me. “History shows just how great we can be.”

Nothing beats America for Christian Seagren, a Gen Z California resident. 

“After living overseas, it’s very apparent to me that there is one dream, and it’s the American one,” he said. 

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I attend the University of Florida and can attest that residents here echo Seagren. For Caleb Sheppard, a University of Florida Law alum, America means opportunity. 

“It means that I have a chance at bettering my family tree,” he stated. 

“Freedom from oppression,” said Georgia Chapa, a student at Texas A&M University.

 L to R: Austin Lay, Gabriela Prieto, Caleb Sheppard, Georgia Chapa

My generation faces a challenging economy and the dread that we may not enjoy our parents’ standard of living. But that has not stopped many young people from still pursuing a faded American Dream. 

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“The American Dream still exists. The American Dream means the opportunity to choose and to be able to work and earn,” Gabriela Prieto, a student at the University of Florida, said about the wealth of opportunities here. 

“No one’s ever heard of the ‘Australian Dream’ or the ‘French Dream,’” Seagren mentioned. “America is the land of innovation, and it encourages and enables individuals to carry that out via enterprise.”

Sara Grove, a student at the University of Florida, explained, “America is freedom for everyone…To me, that really goes to show how truly free and amazing this country is.”

As we celebrate its 248th birthday tomorrow, remember that the next generation of American leaders still has patriots in its ranks who champion freedom, opportunity, enterprise, and innovation - the timeless values that make up our national spirit. 

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