The United States is a nation that encompasses both incredible beauty and complex experiences. Its people come from diverse backgrounds, each with their own unique history, values, and perspectives. These elements contribute to a rich tapestry of experiences that cannot be fully captured by a single narrative of celebration. It is important to recognize and honor the multifaceted nature of our nation.

On this Independence Day, let us embrace the opportunity to listen to the voices of many different Americans. By doing so, we can gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be part of the United States. Each individual has an important story to tell, adding to the overall fabric of our country’s collective identity. Let us celebrate and appreciate the richness of our diverse experiences and the complexity that shapes our shared American journey.

What’s your U.S.A. experience? By uploading an interview to the StoryCorps archive at the Library of Congress, you and a loved one preserve your stories for generations. Download the StoryCorps App to record a conversation and add it directly to the collection. If an in-person interview isn’t an option, use StoryCorps Connect to conduct it remotely.

The Busboy

In the famous image of Robert F. Kennedy just moments after he was shot, Juan Romero, a busboy, was cradling the Senators head. Hear how Juan remembers that life-changing moment.

A Life of Honor

When Joseph Patton joined the Navy in 1955, he had to serve in silence. At the time, the LGBTQ community could not be open while in the military. Despite being the “perfect sailor,” Joseph was kicked out of the Navy under the assumption that he was homosexual. At StoryCorps, Joseph remembers the pride he took in his service and the beauty and joy that love has brought to his life. From the Military Voices Initiative.

Driving Lessons

Mohammad Ashraf Faridi immigrated from Pakistan to the United States in the 1980s. He settled in New York City, and his family joined him almost a decade later. By then, Mohammad was earning a living driving a cab. His oldest son, Muhammad, opens up to him about growing up as the son of a taxi driver.

A Mother’s Promise

Maria Rivas and her teenage daughter Emily prepare for the possibility of Maria returning to El Salvador if she is forced to leave the U.S. From the American Pathways Initiative.

Where I Come From

The U.S. government forced Barnie Botone’s great-grandfather, a Kiowa chief, to board a train and leave his tribe’s land behind. Almost a century later, Barnie got a job on the railroad. From the StoryCorps animated season, “This Land.”

The Golden Rule

“I don’t think we could be any further apart as people.” Joseph Weidknecht, a Trump supporter, sits down with Amina Amdeen, a Muslim student who rescued him at an anti-Trump rally. From One Small Step.

The Icing on the Cake

Blanca Alvarez immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 1972. She crossed the border with her husband and son while she was pregnant with her daughter, Connie. At StoryCorps, Blanca and Connie remember those early years. From StoryCorps Historias.

The Rent We Pay

Ajmal Achekzai and his family fled to the United States to seek asylum during the onset of the Soviet-Afghan war. He reflects on the dualities he faced as an Afghan-born U.S. Marine. From the American Pathways Initiative.

“It wasn't your typical home. But it was a home for us.”
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Sisters Remember Growing Up In Their Parents’ Hollywood Laundry Business

Sisters Suzi and Donna share stories of what it was like growing up at their family’s laundromat just minutes from all the big movie studios in Hollywood, California… but a world away.

Tom’s War

After being drafted in 1969, Tom Geerdes served as an Army medic in the 11th Armored Cavalry in Vietnam and Cambodia. Like many veterans, he returned home a changed man. He shares his long journey toward healing with his daughter, Hannah Campbell.

A More perfect Union

When Theresa Burroughs came of voting age, she was ready to cast her ballot—but she had a long fight ahead of her.

During the Jim Crow era, the board of registrars at Alabama’s Hale County Courthouse prevented African American people from registering to vote. Undeterred, Theresa remembers venturing to the courthouse in pursuit of her right to vote.

Love Lost, And Found

Sue McConnell and Kristyn Weed are best friends and Vietnam-era veterans. Although they didn’t serve in the war together, they share a story of courage — on and off the battlefield. From Stonewall OutLoud.

“When we take out big chunks of history, that diminishment diminishes us.”
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After four decades in the classroom a texas teacher keeping history alive

Nelva grew up with a love and respect for learning that she carried with her throughout her life. When faced with the option of retiring, Nelva instead decided to help found an all-girls institution serving predominantly Black and Hispanic students. She reflects on the importance of teaching ‘the whole history’.

“The next best thing could be around the corner.”
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“Optimism Never Failed Me:” Former Child Actor and Cuban Refugee Tells Grandson to Keep Dreaming

Mario García was a child actor in Cuba, who was forced to flee during the Castro Regime under Operation Peter Pan. Adjusting to a new life in the U.S., his career was put to a halt. He remembers his love for acting with his grandson Maximillian García

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