When you’re five, patriotism means dressing in red, white, and blue and waving a flag. Some people go to parades and get candy from floats that ride down the street. You’ll see people in uniforms walk down the street waving. People cheer and then it is over, like it never happened. Except so much did happen. When you turn ten you start to realize those people in the “costumes” are soldiers in their uniforms, their badges of our honor for their sacrifices. You learn that they fight for your freedom.
I, like many others, didn’t know exactly what my freedom was when I was five. So when the question came to me in my eighth grade social studies classroom I had no idea how to respond because defining patriotism seemed difficult and unexplainable.
I knew how lucky I was to have choices and freedom given to me by people I don’t even know. I wouldn’t have those freedoms if it wasn’t for the veterans who served and fought for those rights, who denied anyone who overlooked those voices. Except, I didn’t know how to thank them for their service.
When I think of my voice, my power, I know that they are the ones who helped me get it. I know each one of them held dreams like me. I know when I wave the red, white, and blue flag I am supporting what they fought for by remembering their losses. Their pain, but also their elation. Being patriotic isn’t about only remembering the pain but also congratulating and fighting for your freedom everyday. Freedom wasn’t given to all of us, so we must cherish it and fight for it.
Patriotism isn’t just about the red, white, and blue though. It isn’t just a one time thing on November eleventh the day world war one ended. The day that used to be called armistices day but now goes by veterans day to honor our veterans by begin patriotic. Patriotism is the people who are behind the red white and blue every single day. Veterans are everywhere and the strength, hopes and accomplishments are seen world wide. Patriotism means being able to recognize what they’ve done and support them. Patriotism means that you are helping lift others up and supporting your country even when everything is intimidating. It is when you realize you are connected with others through a country that fights for you.
Unimaginable sacrifices are given to us so we could be where we are today. Being patriot means knowing, respecting, and fighting continuously for that. On November eleventh I hope you give thanks to your veterans and what they’ve given to you by fighting for their freedom. Knowing what thousands of soldiers fought for and never left the battle field for. For the thousands of solder’s whose dreams never became reality. Also give thanks to the thousands who survived to give you the stories and remind us why where here today, why we fight, what it means to patriotic. Veterans remind us what we lost, the mistakes that can never be made again, and lead us to people we aspire to become.
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