Since the Gulf War (1990-1991) Americans have been “feeling” patriotic. This patriotic “feeling” was ramped up to an even greater degree with the attacks of 9/11 and the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan (the longest war in American history) and Iraq.
Patriotism, according to Merriam-Webster, is “love for or devotion to one’s country.” Another source says a patriot is “a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.” I would suggest that patriotism is more than love of country, if by country we mean “amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesty.” Patriotism is more than a blind allegiance or trust in our leaders. It is more than being able to vote, or having the right to do so. It is more than “flag-waving,” which can be an outward sign of patriotism, but is only a sign, not patriotism itself (and those who attempt to make it so cheapen the very meaning of patriotism). Patriotism is not “The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag,” nor is it the “National Anthem,” or even a blind support of our men and women in uniform!
Patriotism is something far deeper. It is a reverence for the ideas that our forefathers set forth for this nation; the ideas for which they were willing to put their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor on the line. All men (people) are created equal. All are endowed not by government but by their Creator with certain unalienable rights—like the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Government exists only by the consent of the governed. The ideas found in the Declaration of Independence create a patriotic feeling in me and they define me as an American. It is freedom. It is liberty. It is the bedrock on which this nation is founded. It makes life worth living and that makes the ideas worth fighting and dying for. Love of country just doesn’t cut it for me. It is love for what the country is supposed to be and is meant to be that calls forth my feeling of patriotism. It is reverance for the principles of the Declaration of Independence that I celebrate and honor today.
|The American Dream begins with a Declaration,|
and is lived on the long road to its fulfillment.