Defining Patriotism Is Every American’s Challenge
Some would say we live in country on the decline. Some say our country is in great trouble, but few Americans would argue the greatness of our country. So, when it comes to defining patriotism, it’s important to first ask the question, “What does patriotism mean to you?”
Children in school are sometimes (but some would say not challenged enough) to answer this question. It’s easy to first turn to the internet and look at Wikipedia or the dictionary for initial thoughts. And, while that’s not a bad beginning, to define patriotism this way does nothing more than begin to establish an intellectual understanding of patriotism.
The Definition Of Patriotism Has Many Levels
While it’s appropriate to begin exploring the definition of patriotism by looking at what other people have written, this is only a start. To truly define patriotism, an individual must begin to collect a variety of things to form a complete definition. A complete definition of patriotism requires:
- Thoughts on patriotism
- Patriotic quotes
- An understanding of our history
- Emotions about our country
To define patriotism, which is a complex concept, it’s important to begin talking about what it means to various people. There are many different ideas about what patriotism means. Any journey into the definition of patriotism needs to include honest conversations about this often subjective notion in order to collect the thoughts that resonate personally.
In order to fully understand patriotism, it’s important to read the ideas of our country’s founding fathers. This includes significant written works like the Bill Of Rights and The Constitution. Getting an idea of what our early patriots thought patriotism means is a great way to come to an understanding of the concept on an individual level. It always helps to look over some patriotic quotes.
Of course, patriotism needs a context. Many historians have said we need to understand history in order to avoid repeating it, but when it comes to understanding patriotism, it’s essential that we put the concept in a historical perspective. It may go without saying, but patriotism most likely meant something entirely different a few generations ago than it does presently. Most people would likely agree that patriotism is defined by our values, and these values change among generations.
Lastly, it’s important to work toward having a grasp on the emotional aspects of patriotism. Because it is such a complex concept, having only an intellectual definition of patriotism is very limiting. It’s critical to work toward an emotional understanding of patriotism. This is where the passion many people feel toward their country comes from, and it’s important to understand why.
For many Americans, there is a deep, emotional appreciation for the many sacrifices their loved ones have made on behalf of our country. For example, reading about Medal Of Honor winners can often instill intense pride for our service men and women. A good way of thinking about this is defining patriotism through our heroes.
Defining patriotism is not a simple task. There are many different levels to developing a sense of patriotism, and it’s often a challenge to demonstrate patriotism on a daily, weekly or any consistent basis.
But, as with all journeys, the most important part of answering the question, “What does patriotism mean to me?” is that the first steps are taken into self exploration.
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