Since the terrifying events of September 11, 2001 most Americans
consider themselves patriotic or “patriots”. However, it is awful opportune
for people all of a abruptly consider themselves patriotic. Are they
patriotic because they sympathize for thousands of lives taken on
September 11th ? Do they consider themselves patriots because they have a
flag on the back of their car ? Maybe they believe they are true patriots
because they simply love the “amber waves of grain” and the “purple
mountains majesty”. There are so many meanings to what people consider
patriotism that the true meaning is so ambiguous that it leaves itself open
to many botched interpretations. What is true patriotism then?
To begin with, the definition of patriotism according to Merriam
Webster’s Dictionary states that patriotism is, “love for or devotion to
Obviously that definition is too open to interpretation. A
soldier can say they went off to war because they love their country, and
very well do love their country. However, that same soldier was also sent
home for being inhumane and tormenting prisoners of war. That type of
conduct is hardly patriotic. Many people cheat on their taxes, continually
speed on their way to work or never vote. However, If you were to ask those
people if they were patriotic they would vehemently agree they were.
Patriotism clearly relies on peoples daily actions, and not emotions.
Continually, the Encyclopedia Britannica states that patriotism is,
“founded to preserve, protect, and hand down the traditions and values of a
nation”. Clearly, this definition has a wide variety of meanings as well.
How do we protect our traditions and values? Everyone has their own values
and personal traditions. Isn’t that why our country is so great because we
are free to think, say and practice whatever we want? Many people are very
pro-abortion rights while our president feverishly condemns it. Someone is
not viewed less patriotic because they do not believe in every law or part
of the constitution.
While some stand against our nations current view of
abortion it surely wouldn’t make them less patriotic. On the other hand, if
someone makes a point to stand against the war in Iraq they, more then
likely, are labeled unpatriotic. Understanding the core values of America
requires appreciating and respecting the constitution, our past and others.
Thus, handing those traditions and values down to future citizens.
Furthermore, after Sepetember 11th there has been an onslaught of
people wanting to help and learn what it is to be a good American thus,
showing their patriotism. There are many websites on the subject and how to
get involved with our country.
One in particular
(www.sustainourfuture.org/Patriotism/) gives a very comprehensive meaning
to the word patriotism. Basically, true patriotism consists of seven
truths. First, we must support the values of America. Second, everyone
should be informed and vote.
Third, everyone should do their part to
protect our civil liberties. These are most raw and valued laws that allow
us to live and practice free will. Fourth, make sure we have a sustainable
future. This guarantees that we have a healthy, safe, and beautiful
environment for many generations to come without pollution and attacks on
all of our natural environments. Fifth, that we should reduce our
dependency on the Middle East. Our countries use of oil should be
monitored by citizens by using less and conserving gas on a daily bases.
This will prevent having to ruin natural recourses and our country having
to make policies that are not actually in America’s best interest. Sixth,
is that we as Americans should be willing to die for something noble and
honorable. This is exceptionally personal because what people believe to be
noble and honorable is always different. Maybe you consider dying for your
country honorable or maybe your family. Either way it is noble to you.
Lastly, Americans should always show compassion and consideration to all
This is “The Golden Rule”. Americans should always show compassion
to the fellow many and allow themselves to empathize with the plight of
every man. Clearly, these seven points are the most concise opinion of what
Although the definitions and feelings toward patriotism are all very
different: at the core lies the individual American. Only when the
individual American truly strives to be the best person they can be and
obey the laws of the land they represent true patriotism. Hard, honest
working Americans whose daily actions are noble and responsible are true
patriots no matter what they believe in or love.