John F. Kennedy, 35th U.S. President, once stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.
To me, patriotism means selflessly serving others and your country. Patriotism is the sense of devotion, love, and feeling of attachment to your country. It brings the country together and creates a common goal for the good of the nation. Patriotism benefits a country in many ways, it is important that you convey your pride in your country.
Love of country is an important aspect of patriotism. But, as mature, intelligent people know, love is expressed appropriately to the situation. Without this important, yet often overlooked component, we are left with nationalism, not patriotism. Love can disagree with particular decisions when they go against our Constitution. Love can reprimand bad behavior. Love can forgive and love can make restitution. But, love of country is by no means blindly following bad leaders.
Defense of country is another important aspect of patriotism. When you love something, you defend it. In our nation’s history, there were times when our actions did not reflect the values of our constitutional high ground. It was important to change our actions, while still defending our country. Peaceful protest is the American way for citizens to take part in righting wrongs. Our military must defend the country, whether they agree with the ideas of our citizens or not. They are to defend the country even at the expense of our elected officials, but never at the expense of our citizens. That is why the American armed forces are all volunteers.
Respect. Respect for ourselves, our citizens, and our natural resources. When you’ve defended something as precious as our American way of life, you respect its people, its natural resources and its property. Respect is not an acquired trait, it’s a learned trait. We must educate our people in how to show respect. We need only look to Facebook to see we have not been doing a very good job “marketing” this trait. The disrespect we are experiencing is overwhelming right now. It will take strong leadership, and strong support for that leadership to turn this train around! But, we’ve done it in the past, and we will do it again. Respect is contagious, pass it on.
Care. Care for our citizens. A nation can be defined by its care of its weakest creatures and citizens. The natural world is dependent on human interaction. When we keep our natural resources clean, our eco system remains strong and healthy for all of us. America loves and cares for innocent animals, fiercely defending what they love, our laws are changing to increase penalties on those who mistreat or abuse animals. America is a benevolent society, our faith based organizations have led the nation in care for the poor and needy among us. And according to statistics, most Americans care for the unborn as well as our elderly. Don’t let the headlines deceive you, they are the exception, not the rule.
There are manys ways to show your patriotism and it is important to do all that you can for your country. As a student, some of the ways we can show our patriotism is by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, standing for the National Anthem, and celebrating patriotic holidays.