Thursday, January 31, 2013

Patriotism Is Not Dead

Every once in a while I like to stop and look at some of the little things that make up this great country of mine. One of the things I admire is our patriotism. I know, it sounds a tad bit corny, but the spirit of patriotism is a very real element of our society. It transcends religion and political party and ethnic background. It is a uniting force that flows through all Americans. If you doubt that last statement, then I would ask you to remember the days following 9/11. There was hardly a car on the road without an American Flag flying from the passenger side window. The Armed Forces were inundated with volunteers, anxious to go fight for “America”. For a few short magnificent days there were no immigrants, legal or illegal. There were no “Republicans” or “Democrats”, just Americans. Sometimes I get a little depressed and ask myself, what ever happened to patriotism? The answer is always there, in those days following national disasters, when everyone suddenly remembers that we are all Americans. 

So just what is this “patriotism” I keep talking about? Well, let’s talk about it for a minute. I think it will do you good. The word patriotism is a word that, unfortunately, is seldom used in this modern day and age. This word derived more two centuries ago in the early 1700's when America was in its earliest stages. The Merriam/Webster Dictionary describes the word patriotism as a noun, and its meaning is stated in the dictionary as; love for or devotion to one's country.

A historical act of true patriotism was when Patrick Henry proclaimed his timeless cry "Give me liberty or give me death." Henry was a true American patriot who faced losing freedom in his country, America, while it fought against British rule in this new land. America was the hope for freedom and without reservation or fear, Patrick Henry would rather be put to death then not live free in his beloved America.

Throughout the centuries patriotism in America remained strong as we have faced America's many trials. During those difficult times in America all Americans band together and stand strong in unity and in their love for their country. In those tough times and the many wars that were fought, many of our patriotic songs were written and sung with your right hand over your heart. Do you remember some of the age old patriotic songs that were often sung? Remember: My Country 'Tis of Thee, You're A Grand Old Flag, God Bless America, and America the Beautiful? These songs portray and tell a story of what patriotism is all about, and the words to the songs proclaim a deep love and devotion for America.

Patriotic songs were once popular and were often sung in schools, churches, and sporting events, they were a part of everyday life in America, until the mid 1960's when they slowly and very gradually started to disappear from our society. It is on rare occasion in the year 2013 that one will hear or sing any of those patriotic songs anymore. That , to me, is one of the real shames and is one of the real problems. We, today, are sometimes too shy about being patriotic.

Proclaiming love for America, despite what the world says is patriotism. Standing with our troops in times of war, is patriotism. Looking out for the greater good of this nation and not ones own personal gain is patriotism. Being a unified nation and standing strong in unity against anything or anyone who threatens the freedoms that Americans have held dear since the birth of this great nation, is patriotism.

Somewhere over the last few decades patriotism seems to have disappeared from everyday lives of Americans. No longer do we start our day with the Pledge of Allegiance, or with patriotic songs. No longer do Americans start their day in their schools or at their jobs with prayer to bless this great nation. It seems as though Americans do not remember that it was with patriotism that our forefathers, our grandfathers, our fathers, our brothers and our sons have fought for and given their lives for, to keep America free.

We have come to a time and place in history where it is no longer politically correct to be patriotic and to support our brave troops, fighting in far off lands to help keep us free. Because of the lack of patriotism and unity in America today, our freedoms are slowing slipping away right before our very eyes. The good news, however, is that it is easy to change this. All we have to do is remember to stand up during the National Anthem and put our hands over our hearts. All we have to do is look at the chaos in places like the Middle East or Africa and be grateful that we have the luck and privilege to live in a country where we can go where we want, when we want and do what we want. That, even though it is taken for granted far too much, is a big part of what makes America so special. 

Patriotism is not dead. It lives in all of us. Don’t be afraid to show it.

Live Long and Prosper...

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