Commentary: Patriotism to Me

Children at the Child Development Center aboard Coast Guard Training Center
Children at the Child Development Center aboard Coast Guard Training Center

The following essay was written by a 12-year-old boy and military child, and submitted to by the boy's family. It reflects what military families endure during parents' deployments, and the spirit of perseverance.

What is patriotism to me? By definition, patriotism means vigorous support for one's country, but I do not think that is the only thing that it means. I think one of the possible definitions is sacrifice. Our armed forces and their families have to sacrifice many things, like time with family, parents and children. Some children go years on end waiting for their parents to come back from overseas and, I guarantee, the parents feel the exact same way. Some kids are scared that their parents will not come home at all. People in the armed forces quietly suffer and sacrifice a great deal, often without the rest of the world knowing or understanding.

Patriotism also means not dishonoring, but instead praising and being thankful for, all the work that has been put in to make this beautiful country. This includes freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom from racism. When people commemorate the fallen and congratulate living soldiers, it only touches the surface of the issue. "Soul-Diers" is what soldier sounds like when you sound it out. They give their life, and dedicate in many ways their soul, for their cause and country. People should realize that their country was not only hard to make but also difficult to maintain.  They should understand that the world does not just revolve around themselves, that there are greater causes around them than just themselves, and realize that many people suffered to make this country.

Finally, patriotism has the word patriot inside it, patriot meaning a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors. A patriot is any man, woman, or child who is prepared to defend their country. I personally think that patriotism is the best thing a country can have, citizens who love their country to such ends they would lay down their life to save it. What is patriotism to me? Well, to me, it is a genuine love for, caring, and understanding of their country, and a willingness to sacrifice for, be appreciative of, and thankful for our great nation.

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