Defining Patriotism

patriotism (n.): the love for one’s country


“Please stand, and place your right hand over your heart.” From a young age, we have been taught to stand for the National Anthem. Although this is not wrong, we should not be too quick to judge others that wish to show their patriotism in another way. What right does it give us to identify one person as less loving of this country than someone else? Our patriotism should be shown in how we treat others and how we try to do our part in forming a more perfect union.

Recently, players of the National Football League have taken a knee during the National Anthem in protest of racism and police brutality. Although they have received criticism for being “un-American” or “disrespectful” to the country, this characterization of their actions is untrue. In this instance,in their view, they are showing their solidarity to the victims of injustice. When these players exercise their First Amendment rights, they are doing their part in believing that something needs to change and improve in this country. There is nothing more American than speaking out against injustice, defending our values and participating in the democratic process this country grants us.

In addition, our patriotism must be expanded in moments of crisis. Take, for example, the disastrous devastation from hurricanes in the East Coast and the horrific attack in Las Vegas. These are moments that test our love for the country. Although many of us disagree on several issues, crisis like these demonstrate that we are still united in serving this country. We should help the victims and our fellow Americans in any way we can, for example, volunteering for a nonprofit that provides relief or donating any amount of money. Patriotism should consist of acknowledging when there’s a problem and being motivated to take action.

We must be reminded that our patriotism is more than wearing apparel with the flag printed on it and lighting fireworks one day of the year. We are more than that, and we need to do more than that to be a more united nation. And more importantly, we need to respect those who choose to show their patriotism in an untraditional way.

By Jeffrey Tran, Business manager

Photo by Jeffrey Tran

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