Sunday, July 4, 2010

What's a Patriot (Happy 4th)

As we celebrate the birthday of this country, I'm being a true patriot by reading the late Howard Zinn's "People's History of the US" the last few months. I've always loved history since I was a kid and I love understanding the past in order to see the future (as well as be fascinated by the stories, people).

Patriotism since 9/11 has become a concept that has divided us instead of unite us. But we'll all see the same thing tonight in fireworks and hear the songs that we always find around this time. In honor of Independence Day, this is my definition of a patriot based in part on what the Founding Fathers described it as.

A patriot is

- someone who loves their country.

- someone who is proud to represent it.

- someone who will question what they are told by the government.

- someone who is willing to die for their freedom or beliefs.

- someone who loves their country so much they won't be afraid to call out or challenge their fellow citizens to live up to its best ideals. (Protesting when necessary)

- someone who sees their fellow man as their brother, not some strange other who is less patriotic.

- someone who doesn't always wear the flag on their sleeve to prove their loyalty or deride others who don't.

- someone who sees common values in others worth embracing to the betterment of the greater good.

- not restricted to one-size-fit-all definition like a personalized hat. We may not celebrate it the same way, but we celebrate it.

There's basic ideals of being a patriot but it takes on different forms and understanding that the story toward independence has different meanings for different people. However you celebrate today, be grateful for the people who made it possible in your opinion.

I'm proud to be an American but I'm fully aware for centuries, America wasn't always proud of my ancestors. She's come a long way after 234 years and we celebrate the progress while working hard to make sure she keeps moving forward for the good of us all.

One of my favorite renditions of our anthem. Talk to 'em Jimi - Be safe y'all.

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