Patriotism & Heroes

definition of patriotism, patriotismIt’s not often that we get asked to define patriotism or we even think of patriotism outside of holidays like the 4th of July or maybe December 7th, but that may be part of the problems in our country today. At the National Foundation Of Patriotism, we think it’s every American’s responsibility as to define patriotism on an individual basis.

So where does one begin in his or her journey to define patriotism? A good start is to begin reading about the history of our country or to browse through patriotic quotes or slogans, but at the end of the day, patriotism can be defined in many different ways. Some people say the definition of patriotism is a love of country. Others might say it’s having a healthy respect for one’s country. Neither of these definitions imply that a person can’t disagree with the leaders of their country.

One way to consider how patriotism might be defined is to look at our nation’s heroes. It was John F. Kennedy who said:

“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”

When considering the history of our nation, it’s easy to see a long list of heroes both in the military and outside. Clearly, the military has given us a proud lineage of heroes to consider, and this very well may be the easiest place to begin to get a sense of what patriotism is all about.

The USS Yorktown is an aircraft carrier anchored in Charleston South Carolina. On that ship, visitors will find an impressive array of vintage airplanes, but tucked away inside the ship is a fairly large room containing a museum dedicated to Medal Of Honor recipients. For some, there may not be enough in this display to touch and feel, but if a person takes the time to read just a few of the reasons these amazing people received the Medal Of Honor, it won’t take long before a sense of pride develops. It’s hard to leave the room after reading about these heroic deeds to not feel proud of being an American. That’s what patriotism is all about.

For those interested in learning more about heroes outside of the military, an individual can look at the long list of Presidential Medal Of Freedom recipients. Established in 1963, this award was designed to replace the Medal Of Freedom which was created in 1945 by Harry S Truman to honor civilian heroes during WWII.

The Presidential Medal Of Freedom was created to honor civilians who made significant contributions to national security, national interests of America, world peace, cultural contributions or other private endeavors. Recipients have included people like:

definition of patriotism, patriotism

  • Hank Aaron
  • Lucille Ball
  • Colin Powell
  • Mother Theresa
  • Jonas Salk
  • Neil Armstrong
  • Paul “Bear” Bryant
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Carl Sandburg
  • Ben Carson
  • Maya Angelou
  • Bob Hope

The list of recipients is incredibly impressive. You can browse the full list here:

In fact, it’s hard to go through the list of heroes on this list and not feel proud of their work and accomplishments across many different bodies of work. Just reading this list helps an individual feel proud of the people our country has produced. Isn’t that a good start to defining patriotism?

Click here to read Patriotism Or Nationalism?