As the explosion of fireworks illuminates the skyline, spectators from various ethnic backgrounds gather in observance of the 4th of July celebration. Men and women alike stand in awe while youngsters indulge themselves into frolicsome activities. The scent of barbecued food lingers in the air. Lincoln Park bustles with activity on this Sunday afternoon. This spectacle portrays the attitude of most Americans, regardless of age, gender or race.
Not only does this gathering establish a sense of unity, but it also reflects a notion of patriotism that reaches deep into the heart of every American.
Throughout the past centuries, solidarity and loyalty have proven invaluable to our country’s success and progress. The revolutionary war brought people with different ideas, religious beliefs, and political interests together in a fight for independence. This struggle essentially gave birth to this great nation. It also signified the emergence of an American spirit, tenacious and inextinguishable. The deep belief in a sense of oneness settled inside those individuals who had turned away from isolation, individuals who felt liberated from the hand of oppression, and those who had compromised their lives for a bright future.
Patriotism and unity represent two main variables in the equation for a national identity. Forged by the sweat and blood of our forefathers and having endured eras of irreconcilable differences as well as anti-authoritarianism, these two values still remain vibrant in American culture.
The Declaration of Independence clearly puts forth this notion, stating that “when in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands” (Jefferson 369) incorporating the idea that all people in the cause for freedom had united and no longer pursued alienation and division .This document serves as a constant reminder that the civil liberties we enjoy today proceeded from the bond that our ancestors formed several centuries ago.
The consistent flow of immigrants who arrived on the shores of the United States yet again challenged politicians to adapt a policy of unification. Arthur Schlesinger remarks in his essay, “The Cult of Ethnicity, President George Washington told Vice President John Adams, immigrants will ‘get assimilated to our customs, measures and laws: in a word, soon become one people ” (129).
Schlesinger implies that wholeness in the American culture proves beneficial to the prosperity of society and at the same time inhibits discord.
The consequences of widespread discord among the American people, exemplified during the Civil War, once again confirmed the dire necessity for unity amongst the nation. In his 1961 Inaugural Address John F. Kennedy confronts the audience,”united there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided there is little we can do-for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.” (116-117).
Presenting cause and effect of oneness and division, John F. Kennedy carried a powerful message to millions of Americans nationwide.
The Kennedy era unquestionably reflected an era filled with patriotic sentiments. This pride American’s possess for their country has deep, historical roots. No other country worldwide can boast about its accomplishments and progress as much as America can. This pride compels many to hoist the star spangled banner, demonstrated throughout the nation.
From Alaska to Hawaii, from California to New York, individuals honor and respect the Stars and Stripes, representative of the states that united to form one great nation.
The armed forces of the United States of America proudly carry this flag and exemplify patriotism to the utmost. The willingness to lay down one’s life for one’s country displays honor and courage beyond the call of duty. In order to uphold American ideals and virtues, men and women in uniform often serve overseas. Many Americans idolize these individuals and sporadic bursts of patriotism often arise when prompted by war.
Loyalty towards our troops and government has not always prevailed, as was evident during the Vietnam conflict.
Millions of Americans refused to serve their term of duty, often burning the draft card or flag in public. Riots in colleges and Universities echoed the rejection students felt towards the government as well as the decisions it yielded. This era overshadowed by far the allegiance people had pledged to uphold by .