What does it mean to be an American?

Ask these proud owners of Hummers, America's war machine (as quoted in The New York Times):
"When I turn on the TV, I see wall-to-wall Humvees, and I'm proud," said Sam Bernstein, a 51-year-old antiquities dealer who lives in Marin County, Calif., and drives a Hummer H2, an S.U.V. sibling of the military Humvee. "They're not out there in Audi A4's," he said of the troops. "I'm proud of my country, and I'm proud to be driving a product that is making a significant contribution... If I could get an A1 Abrams, I would, but I don't know if California would allow it."
Rick Schmidt, founder of I.H.O.G., the International Hummer Owners Group, said: "In my humble opinion, the H2 is an American icon. Not the military version by any means, but it's a symbol of what we all hold so dearly above all else, the fact we have the freedom of choice, the freedom of happiness, the freedom of adventure and discovery, and the ultimate freedom of expression... Those who deface a Hummer in words or deed, deface the American flag and what it stands for."
"It definitely helps," said Clotaire Rapaille, a consumer research consultant for G.M. and other automakers. "I told them in Detroit, `Put four stars on the shoulder of the Hummer and it will sell better.' The Hummer is a car in uniform. Right now we are in a time of uncertainty, and people like strong brands with basic emotions."
Travis Patterson, 35, an Air Force veteran who lives in Arlington, Tex., said: "To me, the Hummer, the H1, is the most American vehicle on the planet. It oozes patriotism. You put some flags on the Hummer and drive down the road and everyone is honking and waving at you."
As the patriots say: Pray for America. Often.

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