Patriotism: Beyond the Dictionary

December 18, 2013
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When I think about what patriotism is, I immediately think of one very simplistic idea: my dad. ‘Pateru’ is the Latin morpheme of the word patriotism, and it means ‘father’. The word implicates the love or attachment of one’s own father, or more specifically, the love or attachment of the father’s of one’s country or culture. The definition a dictionary might give you is ‘Love of one’s own country’, but I believe patriotism is much more than just that. I believe real, sincere patriotism is loving what your country stands for, accepting all of its faults, and striving to improve those faults without seeking reward or recognition. In fact, the reason I believe my father is a perfect embodiment of patriotism is because in my eyes, he upholds that very definition. He’s a police officer, and became one because he loves our country dearly, protecting our people, risking his life every day not for recompense, but for the fact that he wants this country to be a better place.

Jesse Ventura, former Governor of Minnesota and Navy Seal Vietnam War veteran, once said, “Patriotism is a voluntary [thing]. It is a feeling of loyalty and allegiance that is the result of knowledge and belief. A patriot shows their patriotism through their action- by their choice.” What I believe this to mean is that patriotism isn’t simply waving a flag along with everyone else when expected to, or doing some big and bold stunt in the public eye to gain a reward of some sort. I think patriotism is big and small, from a middle school lowering their flag to half-mast in respect to acknowledge a tragedy, to joining the army to help continue our freedom, to simply thanking a veteran for their work.

To me, patriotism is a lot of things, but most of all I think patriotism stems from a doubt that is erased after viewing time and time again the good this country contains. It’s a tear shed for the fallen, the grins of loved ones when the heroes come home, the billowing flag proudly displaying our colors, and a prayer for the happiness of all. While patriotism is to neither be expected to be big nor small, it is important beyond words- and THAT is what patriotism means to me.





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