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May 22nd, 2012
04:32 PM ET

Defining Character

Many of the schools around Atlanta have the word "character" on their signs outside.  Merriam-Webster defines character as having "moral excellence and firmness"; Dictionary.com adds "ethical quality."

Character is especially noticeable in those who serve, from the CNN Hero featured in Wednesday's show to the men and women who've served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

So as Memorial Day approaches, we'd like you to tell us how you'd define character.  And be sure to keep watching to see if your comments are featured on CNN Student News!

Carl Azuz, Anchor


Filed under: News Coverage
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Aimee

    "Character" is like a persons traits, good or bad, such as in a good sense thinking before you act to try and avoid people getting their feelings hurt, or, in a bad sense saying something that hurts someones feelings because you didn't think about it before you said it even if you don't mean it, it could still hurt them for life.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Dan

      To me, being a character is just do the things you like to do! Just let your favorite things you like to do, and you will get friends! 🙂

      May 25, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  2. Maggie

    character is whatever defines you. how you act, your personality, everything that you do has a lasting effect on your character. however, you have to be careful and make sure you have a good and positive character so you build a good reputation among others as you grow older.

    May 22, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  3. Jada

    A character does nice things for others like a main character in a book everybody knows about them and the qualitys they have.

    May 22, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  4. Sara

    When I hear the word character, I think of people and the way they act, behave, do, etc. Character is a word that basically potrays who were are not only on the outside, but on the inside, too.

    May 22, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  5. Jada

    A character does nice things for others and not just themselves

    May 22, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  6. Jada

    Characters like giving more than getting

    May 22, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  7. Hunter

    What character might mean is your personality of a person the way they present themselfs.

    May 22, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  8. Bryce

    I define character as being a role model to others who want to be succesful in live. I think anyone who does not want to be succesful in life still needs a character to show them how to live life better.

    May 22, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Travis

      that is right

      May 24, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  9. Santiago

    Character can be defined in different ways, there is no right or wrong. Having character means to have courage and be willing to do the right thing at the right time. Character is not only "moral excellence and firmness" because excellence is an illusion. People with character always do their best and never give up. They have no limits and will not stop supporting what they think is right without a fight.

    May 22, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  10. CJ

    Heroes are people who do not give up easily. They fight for what is right and they do what they know is right.

    May 22, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  11. Liam

    "Character is what you do when no one is around." – Unknown

    May 22, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  12. Iva

    I think of someone having character like a hardware tool box. Everyone has different qualities and strengths that can be used for many purposes. When life gives you a tough situation, use the resources in that tool box.

    May 22, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  13. Nykolas

    To me character is who you are on the inside. Its not who you pretend to be, or who you become so others will ike you. Character is what makes us who we are. It is who we really are and always will be.

    May 22, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  14. joy

    to me character is how you act when you have to make a difficult decision

    May 22, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  15. sonic

    character is to care about others

    May 22, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • jada

      thats exactly what it means

      May 22, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  16. Lizzie

    I would define character as something that a person has that proves that they can be responsible and that they can be trusted. My teacher, Mrs. Neese, has shown true character. She tells us things straight out, without lying or trying to sidetrack us. She is also responsible in teaching us while letting us watch CNN student news. I would once again define character as being trustworthy and responsible. True character, is very rarely shown in the world

    May 22, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  17. Clowie

    Charecter means to be yourself it's just a different way of saying peoples personalities. Everyone's different so everyone has different charecteristics.

    May 22, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  18. Daniel

    I define character as someone who is helpful, honest, kink, and respectful to someone else

    May 22, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  19. Sean

    Character is who you are, it does not matter where you come from or what your surroundings look like. Character is also what sets you apart from the rest of the world, without character, we'd all act like boring robots.

    May 22, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  20. Lena

    Character means your personality, your inner thoughts, and the way you think. It is what defines you, and your life.

    May 23, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  21. EJ

    Charater is something that you possess which makes you do things and think in your own way. We say every human being is different because every human being has different characteristics.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:06 am |
  22. Jiwhan

    Character is a person or other living thing that appears in a movie, cartoon, game, etc.

    May 23, 2012 at 6:06 am |
  23. Daniel

    I think character is a person who shows respect, honesty, kindness, and trustworthy

    May 23, 2012 at 7:13 am |
  24. Miranda

    Character is who you are and what you do when no one is watching.

    May 23, 2012 at 7:38 am |
  25. Danny

    Character is the way you try to express yourself. It's about your personality, but it's fairly unique, and it makes you who you are. Everyone has special characters and all of them should be respected.

    May 23, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  26. Madison and Drew

    Character is something that a person works for and builds. Character is something everyone strives for, but only someone who makes sacrifices will succeed in building their character. Character is what makes a person who they are. Character is what makes humans to be unique and have diversity.

    May 23, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  27. Alex

    Character is somthing that you are. Only you can define yourself, no one else can.

    May 23, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  28. Chase

    Character, in a novel, means to be a person, but to have character is to have your own personality, to have your own way of thinking. Soldiers have the important character of protecting our country and every man has their role of protecting us. You, Carl Azuz, have character when saying those hilarious puns.

    May 23, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  29. Levontie

    A very special person who gives anything just to show love and compassion. That person is not just a character but a helper as well. I would give anything to drop out of school, if needed, to give an ill parent or kid some help. I wish I can make up a club called SL (show love) just to combine what the world needs just to be human.
    from Levontie

    May 23, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  30. Isaiah

    To me the meaning of character is who you are and who you want to be whether it seems different or not. It is believing that what you do and who you are is the defenition of you.

    May 23, 2012 at 11:00 am |
  31. Jorge

    Having great character will help throughout life. It will have a positive impact on your abilities, attitude, etc.
    I think we all have a vast amount of character, physically, mentally, and verbally.

    May 23, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  32. K'Nayah

    i think character is how only one person acts people may think they act the same but every one is their own character.

    May 23, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  33. keyon aka kc

    i think character mean a good inflenst

    May 23, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  34. Bay Creek Middle School 8th grade LA Ms. Wilson's 2nd period class

    being honest
    self-confidence
    thinking of others
    caring
    kind
    being non-selfish
    putting others before yourself
    having good morals
    being a leader, not a follower
    being who you are, not someone else
    expressing yourself positively
    being active in your community
    ...character is a person in a narrative... (Brandon S.)

    May 23, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  35. Ryan'Niesha

    Difining yourself or your character or were ever you may live,work or even go to alot is important because people need to know how you feel about it but its still important and difining yourself give people a good way of thinking about you.

    May 23, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  36. Mr. Sebela's Class

    We think character as showing who someone is through their actions and how they present themselves. Also, character is also based on personal experience in life. Character can also be based on what direction you choose each day and the decisions that you make.

    May 23, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  37. Ryaniesha

    I always define my self to people so they can get a good prospective of who i am.

    May 23, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  38. John

    Character is what you do when people are not looking.

    May 23, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  39. Deivion

    i will not be somebody that im not and if people dont except me for who I am then I am hanging out with the wrong people

    May 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  40. Graciela:)

    ...i know that everyone has different points of view. And basically to earn respect from others you have to act a certain way. (every one is different)In my opinion the best way to act is helping out dont b rude saaying stuff like youre stupid blah blah blah put yourself in the other person"s shoes. To earn respect yuh give respect...and dont judge a book by its cover judge by what or how they act but just be cause they act a certain way doesnt meanYUH neccessaraly have to act the same way back because then thats bad on yuh.

    May 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  41. Brittanie

    Hello Carl my name is Brittanie... as far as being a Defining Character I am one I raised my siblings for six years they are know six and eight years old the oldest was the one I helped the most but after awhile it was both I am no longer taking care of them due to me being in school but I just wanted to share that with you anyway I did drop out of school in forth grade and joined back again September of 2008. its now 2012 and I am due to Graduate June seventeenth. I have taken care of several family members throughout the years with disabilities and I just wanted to say that I'm glad that someone out there cares for all of us who went that and in some cases still are. thank you for putting us in the spotlight and thank you for caring.

    May 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  42. Joshua

    Character is what defines you as a person.Our football team has a motto "Ability may get you to the top ,but character is what keeps you there."

    May 23, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  43. priscilla

    defining my character i would say it is funny and thats why i have lots of friends 😉 ❤

    May 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  44. odalys

    defining my charater i would say that i'm a quite, shy, little girl. i dont like talking alot in class.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  45. Autumn

    Character is your true personality. What type of person you really are; which is shown through your actions when you are by yourself.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  46. Taylor

    Character is something you form over a period of time. It becomes you and how you are in life, how people judge you. Character is something people learn ABOUT you.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  47. Katie

    I think character means, who someone is and how the act to others.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  48. trevoer

    Charecter is being 1 of a kind.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  49. Herbert

    I think of character as a moral supremecy. It is the epitomy of integrity and the want and will to do what is good and right at all time.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  50. juanito

    I love the United States Armed forces. They make life so much easier for countries like a I live in. Way to go Seal Team 6. Happy Memorial Day. Character is something demonstrated throughout the entire forces, happy memorial day!

    May 23, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  51. Ian

    Character is like beauty, it is really all in the eye of the beholder. For me, having character is staying loyal to the closest of your friends, being there for a complete stranger when they need help, or even standing up for the little guy.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  52. Cali

    My science teacher has a poster in her classroom that I think defines character perfectly. All it says is:
    "Watch your thoughts, they become words.
    Watch your words, they become actions.
    Watch your actions, they become your character.
    Watch your character, it becomes your destiny."
    So, character is basically what we think, say, and do, for good or for bad.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  53. jesenia

    Acharacter is like a person. A character is the way you act the person you are. That is one kind of character. another character is like in a story like the character cinderellla. She has a good act of character in her even though she is treated wrong. Character is in everyone sometimes they can be bad character or maybe good but that is a Character means.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  54. Jordan

    i think that if you graduate you should go to college right after so you can be like 20 and be done with school and live your life

    May 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  55. NAKIA

    to me defining a character is who you are on the inside not the outside ❤ 🙂

    May 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  56. Cody

    Having a good moral compass, telling the trueth and having a good work ethic.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  57. Coltyn

    Character. A person in a movie.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  58. Alex

    Character. a person in a book.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  59. Anne

    I think that character describes what kind of person you are and how you treat others

    May 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  60. Monica

    Character by my definition is the qualities people alive and in books have that make up personality and the actions they chose tomake.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  61. Breanna

    I define character as the way that someone treats others around them. What I mean is that I believe the definition of character in my eyes is the morals and ways that certain people treat others. Such as the CNN heroes they always treat others with respect which makes me happy.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  62. Red

    I would define someone who has character as someone who is a positive influence on the world, someone who is friendly to everyone, is mature and loyal to everyone, as well as someone who is living their life to its full potential.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  63. Antanae

    that im a good prson

    May 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  64. Mr. Sebela's Class

    It can mean that you have courage and dedication. Also it is who you are, what your about, and what you stand for.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  65. aiyannah

    you should be yourself don't let anybody tell you diffrent don't change to be someone else for someone else

    May 23, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  66. Katie

    To me, character is the ability to do what is right, even if it is challenging or inconvenient. How you handle situations in your life strengthens or weakens your character. You can always tell if someone has a strong or weak character by how they treat others.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  67. Cooper

    Character means that you do what needs to be done while doing extra to help you and others.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  68. Joseph

    I think it is who you really are without any other objects or accessories. It is also the personality of yourself and your qualities.

    May 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  69. Jack

    Character isn't good or bad. It is who you are. If you are nice and outgoing, that's your character. If you are mean and selfish, that is your character.

    May 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  70. Abby

    To me character describes a person’s natural ability to be caring, understanding, and self-confident. It involves a person’s drive to remain calm and dedicated even when times or situations are difficult. It is when it is a person’s nature to care for others as well as not care if there are obstacles in the way, they will be persistent and brave and find a way to get around them. A strong character means that someone not only shows that they love what they do but they love to help make a difference in others’ lives, without asking for anything in return. Someone like Connie who is taking her own time to make sure that kids can go to school while taking care of their loved ones. She truly has strong character.

    May 23, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  71. Andrea

    I believe that to define character is hard. There are many ways to describe it, but in this segment it just means, to me, that these kids are quiting school to help out a family member. I know that I would do it, especially if it was my mother or father.

    May 23, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  72. Gordy

    Character is what describes a person's well-being, personality, and morals. It defines who you are as a person, and how you'll have an impact on others.

    May 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  73. Jada

    A character helps others that are in need

    May 23, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  74. Hanna

    character is whats on the inside its how you act or feel and only you can change it but it whats inside

    May 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  75. Ella-Catherine

    Defining a character is hard. No one can define anyone else, really. I guess if i had to try I would by what they care about and what the want to do.

    May 23, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  76. Bridie

    Character is how you take what life presents you with and being the best you can be. Someone may have awful circumstances that they have to deal with in their life, but they are still one of the funniest, kindest, and most caring that you will ever meet.

    May 23, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  77. Vivi

    I think character is the moral qualities particular to one person. =D

    May 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  78. tabitha

    i think i know exactly what character is it is somebody with the good stuff like kind sweet i have character because i can spell it right

    May 23, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  79. Noe

    I think there are different types of characters. There are nice characters, which set good examples for others, like our CNN heroes. There are also bad characters, which set bad examples.

    May 23, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  80. Nalinee

    I think character is something that has features and traits. It can be anything living or not living.

    May 23, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  81. Cody

    I think character is appearance, a way people are. If people had the chance to change, they would. Anyways, why can't we post our last names?

    May 24, 2012 at 6:57 am |
  82. misaki

    I would define character as the ability to admit your mistake, because admitting our fault and apologizing is sometimes the hardest thing to do for us.

    May 24, 2012 at 7:09 am |
  83. Erin

    My definition of character would be to be an original, or at least yourself. To be different from anybody else.

    May 24, 2012 at 7:31 am |
  84. Paine

    Me and my teacher say, that character is about defining who you are, what you have become, and knowing how far YOU have come as yourself alone.

    May 24, 2012 at 7:57 am |
  85. daniel

    i think charecter is what you want it to be if you want to be disciplend or well respected then you have a good chaarecter if you choose to be a potatoe couch then thats a bad charecter.

    May 24, 2012 at 8:14 am |
  86. BJ

    One thing that defines character is the courage that one must have to be brave. Character is also looked at as being or doing the best you possibly can in any case whatsoever. In my view character defines who you are!!

    May 24, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  87. Delaney

    What character means to me is to be strong, joyful and to have perseverance. No matter what happens, someone that has character is a strong and they will fit for what they believe in. All of the fallen soldiers have a lot of character fitting for their country for our freedom and independence. They face the enemy with character in their eyes, not fear. On Memorial Day these men and women should be honored, for their characteristics that they have showed their country.

    May 24, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  88. lucas

    i think it is your personality

    May 24, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  89. Dexter

    i define the word character is a person or thing a character have behavior and a character have principles and shoe high performences.

    May 24, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  90. Abie

    I would define character as your personality

    May 24, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  91. Blake

    It's so amazing how they lived thought that.

    May 24, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  92. Jules

    Try your best don't let your self down believe in your self

    May 24, 2012 at 9:16 am |
  93. Isabella

    have a positive audited and have fun.

    May 24, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  94. Blake

    The person who was texting in the car need to think before driving.

    May 24, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  95. Danielle

    The special qualities to an individual. A distinctive nature of something. Typically unusual and interesting. Some words to describe the word Character- nature, temperament, mentality, makeup, features, qualities, traits,identity, complexion,and tone.

    May 24, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  96. Joshua

    Simple: Character is how you do things. Character can make a good or a bad influence. If you have good character, you will represent your family, friends, and anyone else you are associated with in a good way. Having a certain type of character (good or bad) will determine if you are classified as someone with good or bad character.

    May 24, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  97. Anna

    Character, noun,
    The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.

    May 24, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  98. ava

    my description of character is your aditude.

    May 24, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  99. Cole

    I think that Character is helping others in need.

    May 24, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  100. derrick

    i think that character is based on how you are able to accept people, and to understand your mistakes and not to be a bullly to others

    May 24, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  101. Alexis

    I define character as someone who is always willing to help and is working on improving himseldf or the community.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  102. Peter

    I define characters like Labron james the basketball player his a good character and at basketball.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  103. Lakota

    I think that Character is a quality or qualities that you have to make you yourself. I think it is this because it shows off your personality by you using your habits in what you do often to make these qualities. Some people may like the qualities you have others may not but it is what you think about it.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  104. Anonymous

    I think that character is what defines a person. I think it is integrity, perseverance, and courtesy.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  105. Braxton

    Character is your personality. It is who you are. It is what you do and say that makes you who you are.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  106. caden

    To me character is having your own equality's and always being yourself. My character is most fun and happy:). I like to make people happy and glad to be alive.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  107. Trevor

    Character is all about the courage someone has to do something. When the dude ain't afraid of being themselves. And aren't scared to do anything.People know you by your actions. If you have a strong character people can trust in your judgment and know that you will do your best to be fair with them.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  108. caden

    To me character is having your own equality's and always being yourself. My character is most fun and happy:). I like to make people happy and glad to be alive. Character is also to me someone making the right choices at the time.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  109. Dawson

    To me character means that they do the right thing when it's put in front of them. You can have good character and bad character. Good character is when you are sure to make the right choice.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  110. olivia

    To me character means how you act. Like if your a fun loving person then you have a fun loving character. But if you are a boring lame person then your character will be boring. So character is pretty much your personality.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  111. MO

    I think character means your own personality and own feelings toward something.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  112. Cat

    I believe everyone has a different definition of character because it can be defined in many ways.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  113. Jose

    Charactor is being the best you can be and putting forth the extra degree. I show good charactor by helping seniors and children around my comunity.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  114. Mary Anne

    Character is not someone potrayed on TV or in a movie. It is what is contained in one's soul. Therefore, everyone has a different character which makes everyone interesting.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  115. william

    It was all of their faults. The motorcycle driver should have seen the incoming car. The other driver shouldn't have been texting. and the person he was texting, (unless she didn't know that he was driving home) shouldn't have been texting him.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  116. Jennifer

    I think the girlfriend and boy should be sued because the girl should know that he is driving and it could cost a inqury or a life. So I think that they both should be sued fo texting wile driving.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  117. Christa

    I think that it could be both the boyfriend and girlfriend's fault, but at the same time the girlfriend could have not been positive that he would pick up his phone and text her back when he was in his car.

    May 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  118. Levontie

    Character is caring!

    May 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  119. Jarkardah

    Character is the way people act, behave and if they have mannors, also if they respect elders and girls 🙂

    May 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  120. nick

    i think that the dude texting while driving should have to pay for what he did and the same with his girlfreind because if she did not text him he would not have got in a crash so it is both there fault.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  121. Lilly

    I think defineing character is who you are, what you are made of, and how you act.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  122. Alfonso

    In my opinion, the definition of character is a person behaving as usual. It also defines who the person truly is in life and how others will most definitely be affected by his/her characteristics. Overall, your character makes you unique mainly because everyone is completely different.

    May 24, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  123. billy

    character is not shown till you prove you have character. We should thank are troops on memorial day. We make character to prove we have it think are troops.

    May 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  124. Raymond

    I think the girl that texted the guy that was driving should not have been sued for texting her boyfriend. She was not in the car, and did not physically make contact with the driver, so why should she be responsible for him reading texts on his phone? It is not the drivers girlfriend fault that he crashed, because she cant control what he does on his phone.

    May 24, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  125. kevin

    Character is the essence of a person

    May 25, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  126. Angie

    Character is the quality that makes you unique and interesting. Everyone one has their own.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  127. Evan

    Character being able to take whatever life throws at you and still maintaining moral standards. It is being honest and honorable when no one is around and showing leadership in time of need.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  128. Caroline

    I would define character as the way you respond to things and how you take care of it. People need confidence and character. Character without confidence is dangerouse. Confidence without character is not as dangerouse as character without confidence, but it is dangerouse.

    May 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm |