American Patriotism: Getting Back To The Basics!

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.

American Patriotism: Getting Back To The Basics!

“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?

Everyday Patriotism!

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.

I Survived book series

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!

Gettysburg address by Abraham Lincoln.

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.

Voting is a patriotic privilege.

“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.

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  • 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.

Early pioneer farm life.

“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!

American Patriotism: Getting Back To The Basics!

“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.

 –Mary 

Leather Chair Reading! Books That Celebrate The American Spirit!

Leather Chair Reading!  Books That Celebrate The American Spirit!

I think it’s fair to say that we may all be a little weary of the grueling political process we’ve experienced in the past several months as we anticipate the election of a new president of the United States.  Sometimes it seems that the very principles our founding fathers fought so hard for in establishing this great country are being compromised.  The campaign rhetoric got so bad one night, that I found myself browsing my husband’s expansive library of American history books to find a few that would help restore my faith in everything I love about this great land of America.  For this Leather Chair Reading journal entry, I have chosen a few of the books I love that helped me remember, more intimately, the immense sacrifices of past generations as they fought for the many freedoms we now enjoy, as well as reenergize my belief in the great American spirit!

Leather Chair Reading! International Children's Book Day! www.mytributejournal.com

“There is nothing so wrong with America that faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizen’s cannot cure!”   Dwight D. Eisenhower  

“1776” by David McCullough

1776 by David McCullough

“The eyes of all America are upon us as we play our part; posterity will bless or curse us!”  Henry Knox

If you are a fan of Pulitzer prize winning author, David McCullough, like my husband is, (don’t even get him started on John Adams, McCullough’s book written just prior to this one) you know he always does extensive research.  In 1776 McCullough focuses on a single momentous year in the fight for American independence, rather than any one individual, although George Washington definitely takes on a starring role.  If you have ever wondered how a bunch of unruly farmers, so to speak, end up defeating the great monarchy of England, you’ll learn from this book that it was done with a great deal of suffering, determination, ingenuity…and perhaps a bit of divine intervention!  McCullough details both sides of the conflict, and how England underestimated abiding hunger for victory.  Besides a new respect for George Washington and his ability to garner an unwavering loyalty from those he led, you’ll also see that he had the rare gift to learn from the criticism he received from other commanders.  When Washington learned that other military leaders considered him to be hopelessly indecisive, he considered their views, agreed with them and made himself more decisive.  An unlikely hero in this book was Henry Knox, a small, rotund Boston bookseller, who trekked over wintry, frozen terrain to bring much needed ammunition from Fort Ticonderoga to help American soldiers be victorious in the battle at Yorktown, a pivotal turning point in winning the Revolutionary War.  On the book jacket it states that 1776 is another landmark in the literature of American history.  In reading this book, I was in awe of all the players that, by no small coincidence, came together to help America gain its freedom!

“A More Perfect Union” by Dr. Ben Carson with Candy Carson

A More Perfect Union by Dr. Ben Carson

“Our founding fathers wrote the Constitution for ordinary men and women, in clear, precise language; they intentionally made it short enough to read in a single sitting.”  Dr. Ben Carson

My husband and I picked this book up long before Dr. Carson made his bid for the 2016 presidential race.  I had read his autobiography, Gifted Hands, and liked his thoughtful, determined approach to life.  We read a few chapters after purchasing the book, then got busy with other projects, so it sat neglected on my nightstand.  But when the constitution became such a focal point of the current presidential race, we decided it was time to become better versed on this document drawn up by our founding fathers as a fundamental directive that helps to define key points that promise to protect the rights of the citizens of the United States of America…even amid all their varying viewpoints.  Dr. Carsen so profoundly states, “I wrote this book to encourage every citizen to read and think about the Constitution, and to help defend it from those who would misinterpret and undermine it in our age of political correctness…it’s so important to defend the Bill of Right, which guarantees our freedom to speak, bear arms, practice our religion and much more.” 

The Constitution. A More Perfect Union!

The Preamble to the Constitution says, “The purpose of this document is to create a more perfect union of this blessed nation!” 

May we all be empowered, in some small way, to protect that union and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves.  I also loved the insights from Dr. Carson’s wife, Candy, as she put a female spin on the privileges we are afforded as a result of upholding the Constitution.  (If you really want to treat yourselves, get the audio version of this book, Dr. Carson’s kind voice is such that listening to him read this book can’t help but restore any lacking faith you may have in the great American Spirit!) 

“Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

I actually read this book some time ago with a neighborhood book club; and while I’d like to think of myself as somewhat of a dedicated learner about World War II, I have to admit that I found I wasn’t too knowledgeable on the Japanese element of this horrific war.  Unbroken is the true story of Louis Zamperini who learns to channel his youthful defiance into being a world-class runner who eventually makes his way to the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  But when World War II breaks out he finds himself enlisting as a United States airman.  I found this book to be a hard read sometimes as it documents Zamperini’s perils of being lost at sea after his plane is shot down over the Pacific Ocean and the brutality he eventually faces as a Japanese prisoner of war.  I loved learning that the author was able to interview Zamperini many times as she wrote the book, and was able to find out first hand that his character, even in old age, exemplified hope and humor amid his memories of the most desperate of human conditions!  I later saw the movie based on the book that was produced by Angelina Jolie, who said Zamperini taught her about having faith.  “There’s just something greater than all of us…and it’s uniting and beautiful!”   Wonderful wisdom to keep in mind as we each face life’s challenges, whatever they may be.  

The great American spirit of Louis Zamperini!

(Louis Zamperini in 2014 at 97 years old.)

“When he thought of his history, what resonated with him…was not the pain he had suffered, but the divine love that he believed had intervened to save him.”  Laura Hillenbrand on Louis Zamperini

I  hope I can learn to love deeper when facing adversity…and may we all learn to truly cherish those who have forged the way for America to exist as it does today, and honor its greatness by the way we live!

I Love America quote.

Please share what books you’d recommend about American History and its great spirit that are a “must read”?     

–Mary

Pioneer Heritage…And The Tale Of A Farm Kid!

Pioneer Heritage…And The Tale Of A Farm Kid!

On July 24th, those of us who live in Utah celebrate the pioneers who first settled this beautiful state!  No matter where you’re from, like me, I’m sure that you love all the wonderful things about the state you call home.  (You can read more on a few of the things I love about Utah here.)   

    After several months and countless miles of travel and trials, Brigham Young led the first company of Mormon pioneers into Utah’s valley of the Great Salt Lake.

Vintage Salt Lake City www.mytributejournal.com

Gazing over the parched earth of the remote location, Young declared, “This is the place!”  (Utah Archives)

One of the things I love most about Utah is the amazing people and the heritage of ingenuity and service they have, as well as the dedicated work ethic that has been passed on from one generation to another.  My father’s parents came from Norway and raised wheat and barley.  My dad continued to farm that same land when he wasn’t teaching his college courses.  I cherish the memories I have of helping my parents out at our farm; I was taught a lot about hard work, lessons I may not have necessarily wanted to learn at the time!

A Farm Kid Joins The Marines!

Recently, I received this story from a great doctor friend of mine.  I chuckled at the tongue-in-cheek humor, but I was also touched by the neat message it shares about the willingness of so many American people, committed to the heritage of the state they were raised in, as well as this great nation, to make the choice to live purposefully!

Pioneer Heritage...An A Tale Of A Farm Kid!  www.mytributejournal.com

(Abbreviated from original version–shared with me by Dr. Doug Coombs)

Hearing the sad news about Marines being killed in Chattanooga this past week, was a strong reminder for me that one of the best things we can do to pay tribute to those (past and present) who help pave the way for us to enjoy the freedoms we have, is to respect and serve each other and honor the great heritage that is ours, not only in our home states, but in this wonderful land of America!

Pioneer Heritage!  www.mytributejournal.com

Happy Pioneer Day, beautiful Utah!

What part of your heritage resonates with you and helps you to live better?

–Mary