Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade April 2001

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The dictionary describes these people as dignified and that is clearly obvious. Webster's definition basically states that a person who is dignified has "honorable qualities' or a "high repute of honor." To have dignity a person must have pride followed by ambition and perseverance.

Having pride and positive self-esteem will get a person on the track to dignity. Oprah Winfrey for example, was an African American girl growing up in a newly integrated school. Not only was living with racism tough, but she was also sexually abused and raped by family members. This did not arrest her dreams. She put setbacks behind her and continued to proceed towards her goals. No matter how people criticized her, she took her talents to further levels. It is astounding what pride and self-esteem can accomplish for a person. Another example is Jeannie White's pride. She had so much pride that she continued fighting for her son's life even after his death.

She strived to educate, to console, and even inspire others. She was so proud of her son; she uses his life everyday when she speaks to the public. Also, John Moser, founder of the Jay County Aids Task Force, also had pride. He was proud of who he was and centered his life on educating others on AIDS. Having pride is being oneself and tolerating and teaching others about human weaknesses and accepting people for who they are. This is pure dignity.

Dignity not only takes pride , but the ambition to make dreams into reality. There could only be one thing that makes a man fight for the right of all people. Fight, even though he knew the world was full of hatred. The man was Martin Luther King, the fight was for civil rights, and what he had was ambition. Ambition is the desire to accomplish your goals even if they seem impossible. Martin Luther King was assonated for his ambition. Sadly, his life ended, but his dreams and ambitions will live incessantly. Abe Lincoln had this comparable ambition. He had the willingness to fight for something he believed in. He had so much ambition a war began. Brother against brother, it made the United States not so united. Finally his goal had came true as a result of great ambition. Great ambition also brought out the fight in another man. George Washington was also a freedom fighter, a true Patriot. His ambition lead to the sovereignty of our country. These men will always symbolize dignity and their ambition will influence people for years to come.

Perseverance is an immense sign of dignity. Perseverance is the incentive to keep trying, even when things might not be going one's way. Mother Teresa had perseverance. She fought relentlessly for hunger, disease, and for everyone to have an equal opportunity. Even though she knew she could not help everyone, this did not stop her from trying. In most eyes Mother Teresa is dignified, or even a true saint. There could not be another word to describe the soldiers of America. There is no other dignifying experience than persevering the fight for your country. These soldiers sacrifice their lives for something they believe in. Even when things look bad, they refuse to give in no matter the cost. People can observe many dignified people by watching TV. The Oprah Winfrey show usually contains many people that symbolize dignity. One young man was a great example. His name was Cornelious. He had witnessed his mother's boyfriend kill his 4 year old brother by hanging him upside down in scalding water. The mother and boyfriend were both arrested leaving Cornelius alone. Cornelius changed foster homes regularly until he became homeless. He never gave up though. Cornelius continued going to school everyday. Sometimes wearing the same clothes for weeks. Until one day his life changed, he met a family and they took him in. He continued on in school and became Prom king and Valedictorian. Unlike many kids Cornelius used perseverance to get to his dreams and stayed on the right path. Not only did Cornelius reach dignity, but he defied dignity.

Dignity is a word that could alter a life. Dignity is the kind of respect that is reflected upon one. If one owns the word, they too may have the key to success. If perhaps one has the qualities to be such a person, a person of pride, with profound ambition and the perseverance to obtain one's goal.