American Patriotism: Getting Back To The Basics!
There’s nothing I love more than seeing flags waving in a summer breeze, military personnel, both past and present, being honored, parades and family gatherings.
“Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion, but a tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” Adlai Stevenson
As patriotic, American citizens, we have a deep and abiding love for this great country. We know America isn’t perfect–but we love it all the same. How then, can we live every day in such a way that shows our gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy and contribute to our nation’s success?
Real patriotism doesn’t mean we have to wait for a holiday or a special event to show our pride in America; it doesn’t require a red, white and blue dress code or fireworks. Patriotism, in its truest form, should be discernible in our everyday actions…by the way we speak and in the things we do!
- Study America’s History!
Learning about American history and what made us the strong, independent country that we are should be an ongoing venture. I was lucky enough to have parents who discussed historical and current events at the dinner table and more often than not, they talked about political leaders with respect, even if they didn’t necessarily agree with their viewpoints.
There are so many amazing books dedicated to celebrating the American spirit and crucial turning points in our world’s history; read them together as a family. (See some of my favorite picks here.) My daughter recently introduced me to a new innovative book series by Lauren Tarshis called “I Survived” –about historical stories that are told through the eyes of boys and girls who lived to share their tales. My two older granddaughter’s were quick to tell me how much they love these books.
My husband and I recently watched a television program where a young girl shared the history behind the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln, then she recited it in its entirety–watching her do this inspired us to learn it too. Doing things like this can’t help but make the rich history of the United States become more meaningful!
Also, if you want to keep up to date with a brief overview of daily news headlines without all the usual political spin, I like the iPhone App Skimm.
- Support Your Community!
Our local communities are obviously the most real and important part of America to us as average citizens, so it makes sense that getting involved in our hometowns and neighborhoods is a good place to start when trying to find ways to be active and contributing members of society. At the very least, we can work to earn a good living to support our families, maintain our homes, and raise responsible children who recognize the many privileges that they are afforded by the cooperative efforts of the their city’s elected leaders and concerned local residents.
I always treasure the opportunity I have to engage in the voting process; attending caucus meetings gives you the opportunity to advocate, lobby and learn more about the candidates up for election and helps you make better decisions on the issues you feel will best support the overall well-being of your community. In addition to elected officials, showing respect for police officers, firemen and others who put their lives at risk for the sake of their communities is something we should all be happy and willing to do.
“My vote is my voice…and the voice of all those who struggled before me so that I may have my voice.” Lydia C. Obasi
I also found that volunteering and helping out at the schools my children attended was a good way to not only help their teachers, but stay informed about the curriculum being taught and how my husband and I could add to their learning experience.
- Work Hard, Serve Others!
Whenever my father would share stories about his parents, he always spoke about them and their tremendous work ethic with the highest regard. As young immigrants from Norway, they had the utmost appreciation for a land that allowed them the freedoms to establish a family farm and business during the great depression of the 1930’s. Despite their own meager circumstance at times, they were always quick to lend a helping hand to others in need and offered food and jobs when needed.
“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but we can work to change a small portion of events, and the total of all those acts will be written in the history of that generation.” Robert Kennedy
My parents also worked hard to provide a wonderful life for our family, while making sure that each of their children had a good education and were self-reliant. It’s rewarding for me and my husband, as well, to see our hard work pay off as our son and two daughter’s work to achieve their goals and dreams in this great land of opportunity.
- Above All…Be Kind!
American patriotism, at its best, is understanding that we are a melting pot, so to speak, of many ideas, cultures and concepts…let’s celebrate them by being kind. Kindness is an expression of caring…even the smallest act or deed done for another person can make a life-changing difference. The ripple effect of kindness is unity despite diversity, and a genuine desire to share what we have with others while being grateful for the opportunities we have to learn from one another.
When my husband and I first saw the video below about Preston Sharp, a young boy aptly known as “A Pied Piper Of Patriotism” –it reminded us once again, of just how far reaching a simple act of kindness can truly be:
I hope our American patriotism may be seen as a chance for us to show kindness!
“True independence and freedom can only exist in doing what’s right.” Brigham Young
May we each live so that we are always a blessing to America!
Please share how you would describe true American patriotism.