Patriotic Essay

August 13, 2008
By Emma Kelly, Lafayette, NJ

Every year, Lafayette Township School requires all of its eighth grade students to write an essay on patriotism. The directions to write the essay are very simple and require the student only to share what patriotism, or what being patriotic means to them. The essays are then judged by the upper grade teaching staff and the winner reads their essay during their graduation ceremony. Although the author of this year's winning essay is not one of my students, I was so moved by her writing, I felt it necessary it share it.

As you read this essay. remember that it was written by an eighth grade student. Her ideas and thoughts are entirely hers, since she composed and completed the essay at school.


Patriot: one who loves and enthusiastically supports his or her country. By this definition, I am no patriot. By this definition, I would not want to be. I could very easily become a patriot. I could join the armed forces or run for president. I could love all 300 million of my fellow Americans. The only problem is that I do not love my country and the other 300 million people who live here. The truth is, I already love something much bigger, much more important than America. I love the world I live in and the other 6 billion people who inhabit it.

Although people usually think of patriotism in very high-esteem, I'm afraid I cannot. Patriotiom instills a feeling of separation from other countries. When you're a patriot, you love your country, but what about the other 193? We are encouraged and expected to love our country. Laws like treason are set to enforce loyalty and flags are handed out like candy. But if we are so focused on loving our country, how much love is left for everything else? When the Al Qaeda bombs government buildings and people in the street, we obviously disapprove. Although we believe this is wrong and should be stopped, they view it as their patriotic duty. They are loyal to their old government and refuse to succumb to the new one. If they were to ever stop and think without their twisted patriotism, they could see their faulty logic, It they thought on worldly levels, they may not be killing hundreds of men and women. Perhaps patriotism taken with a grain of salt could benefit some, but when children are raised with a country-wide mind- set, they are caged by patriotism. They share their country's borders, unable to see beyond.

Patriots are war heroes, politicians and generals. What good is a president who declares war? How patriotic is a man who walks proudly off a battlefield where hundreds have died? No. I don't believe these are the true patriots. Patriots believe in peace and promote the good of mankind as a whole. They love and forgive every person that lives. Patriots do not love their country but the work they live in. Someone who loves every person needs to be the president. They will not try to separate people in love or cause injustices for any persons. Someone who loves everyone should lead wars. There will be no bloodshed, but peaceful resolutions. These are the kind of patriots, the kind of peopIe who should be in the spotlight. Because what the world needs is not another cookie-cutter patriot, but someone whe has their eyes wide open: A person who is not a patriot, but a peacemaker and a philanthropist.

Patriot: one who loves and enthusiastically supports his or her country. By this definition, I am no patriot. But really, what is the significance of patriotism? Why would I want to love my country when I can love them all? I love this Earth, I love the people here and I love being free to think big. So if someone asks me if I'm patriot, I would say no, I am just a small part of mankind.


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