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Rated: E · Essay · Opinion · #1121356
An answer to a new item I read.
Grandma has a beautiful yard, so full of trees and flowers that there is little walking space, other than around the swing set and roller coaster Grandpa made, and the huge tire sandbox painted orange. It was an amazing place to spend the summers, filled with fun and respect for nature and children.

When we became teens, my sis and I would sometimes not realize how wonderful it was, as Grandma pushed us away from the television to go outside and ride bikes. Part of me resented the forced exercise, but the other was quite happy to get out in the fresh air and work my muscles.

There was a wonderful lesson in that. Her yard was beautiful because she spent a lot of time on it, making it her own, and she would let anyone know if they did anything to mess up her creations. There were certain flowers we were allowed to pick; otherwise, we kept our hands off. That was her right. She put the work into it, and she and Grandpa paid the bills on the property, so they had every right to say how it should be treated. Pride comes from effort. It isn't automatic.

I read an article recently about an American singer who was again spouting off against the US. The first time she did, I was angry. This time, I shook my head. She apparently didn't have the life lessons I had. She has no idea what the concept of patriotism is about. Her words (as close as I remember): "This land is our land ... why? What is important about patriotism?"

What is important about patriotism? Simple ... it's about pride. It's about working hard for something you want and something you believe in and then defending your right to have it. It's a small thing like my grandparents working to pay for their house and to make it beautiful and then setting boundaries within their property, and it's a large thing like building a nation with values and honor and setting boundaries that try to maintain both. It's having pride in setting goals and following through, in saying, "This is what I believe in and I'm willing to work/fight for it."

I can't be angry with this under-educated singer making statements that depict much of what is wrong in our society today. I feel sorry for her. I feel sorry for all those who don't have the roots beneath their feet to understand the simplicity of what patriotism is about. It's rather cliche now to say we can't soar if we don't have roots, but it is a truth.

To all those making fun of us flag-waving patriots, regardless of which country we are rooted in, I say I'm sorry ... I'm sorry you can't feel what I do, that you can't understand what it is I'm saying when I wave my flag literally or figuratively. I'm sorry that when I wear my cross and you're offended that you don't understand why it is I can be so grounded in my faith that it helps me soar, that I'm not saying I don't respect your beliefs while I'm wearing my cross. I do. I also respect other countries' patriotism. I am putting no one down. I am not being disrespectful of things for which I'm not showing my support. I am simply showing the roots that are helping me soar.

Pride is not a bad thing when it's guided in the right direction, and when it's earned. Patriotism is also not a bad thing; it's a necessity if we are to have any strength, if we are to stand on our own feet and on those feet who were patriots before us. It prevents us from standing alone.

originally a blog entry (20 June 06), edited to enter in round four of:
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