Oddly enough, my most patriotic moment came when I couldn’t see the flag, and wasn’t even on my home soil.
Take a look at the Merriam Webster definition:
patriotism noun pa·tri·ot·ism | \ ˈpā-trē-ə-ˌti-zəm
Definition of patriotism: love for or devotion to one’s country
example; Although poles apart ideologically, they are both unashamed of their patriotism.— Christopher Hemphill
We are and always will be a military family. Though my husband’s service is behind us, his twenty-one years took us around the country and across the ocean. I cannot honestly say that I always went willingly. We always seemed to get ‘orders’ for the next assignment around his birthday. Since he was my link to the US Army, and my world was generally rocked each time we moved, more than once I took it out on his birthday cake, icing it furiously and none too gently as I dealt with what the next move, a.k.a. upheaval, would mean to our family, the home we had made, the friendships we enjoyed…you get the picture. Some pretty odd looking cakes came out of that period of our lives.
Yet we had to go all the way to Germany for me to really feel what the depth of patriotism is for me. We were actively involved in a small English speaking church while there. One summer, a wonderful touring choir from Texas came through and offered a concert at our church. It was a real taste of home to hear familiar songs and after the concert we all walked out of the church together, attendees and choir members. As we were standing outside, someone asked if they had sung all of the songs on their program. They responded that they had not, and we asked if they would do so, standing there in the parking lot.
Without hesitating, the director gave the starting pitch, and the choir broke into an amazing rendition of ‘God Bless America’. There, standing in the open air of the town of Ludwigsburg, we sahred a moment…a moment of pride, of homesickness, of appreciation, of the significance of our freedom and our service. The remembering still makes me teary.
When I see the Stars and Stripes, I remember the overwhelming feelings of that summer evening. Yes, we may be ‘poles apart ideologically’, but we have so many things that can unite us. I hope you will pause this week and discover what stirs you to care about this place we call home. God bless America!