07/04/2012 02:43 am ET | Updated Jul 04, 2012

July 4th: Teens Answer Question, 'What Is The American Experience?'

This spring, HuffPost Teen published a series of editorials written by students at Oakton High School in Virginia that answered the question, "What is the American experience?" These students grew up in a truly dynamic time -- some just barely remember 9/11, some have family and friends serving overseas, and others are first-generation Americans. All 24 students had a completely different take on what it means to be a citizen of this country. For example, student Drew Sandler connected quantum physics to the American experience, Rayna Rossini celebrated some of America's most influential leaders throughout history, and Miran Youn pondered what "the melting pot" really means.

In honor of Independence Day this week, we've collected quotes from these teens defining what the "American experience" means to their lives. See their responses in the slideshow below.

What does being an American mean to you? Share your reactions in the comments or tweet your thoughts @HuffPostTeen.

The American Experience