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Patriotism: The Courage to Hope

Joined: 8/1/2013
Posts: 2
Patriotism. It is the emotion that inspired colonists to fight against British oppression, encouraged marines to march fearlessly onto the menacing shores of Iwo Jima, and to this day, fuels the competitive spirit that has translated itself into numerous Olympic medals. This same emotion also compelled the South to divide the nation in a bloody Civil War, motivated Joseph McCarthy to fill the Senate with his anti-communist paranoia, and even provoked Edward Snowden to leak top-secret government details to the press. Although these manifestations of “patriotism” may seem to conflict, all these events have one simple thing in common: the belief that change is possible. True patriotism is the courage to believe in one’s nation’s capabilities to amend past mistakes and strive for a brighter future. Simply stated, patriotism is the courage to hope.

Notable American heroes that are now celebrated for their patriotic behavior such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, etc. all shared aspirations that through their efforts, they could enact positive change in the United States. George Washington believed that with enough determination and sacrifice, a previously divided 13 colonies could disregard their difference and defeat the mightiest empire on Earth in the name of liberty and justice. Abraham Lincoln believed that with his unwavering leadership, he could restore the Union and emancipate slaves that were once the backbone of the American economy. Martin Luther King believed that through peaceful protest, racial equality could exist in a country that was plagued by oppressive Jim Crow Laws and racial eugenics. Although each of these individuals faced different obstacles and fought on different battlefields, their belief in the American System’s capability to undergo positive change has differentiated them as heroes.

Despite the efforts of our forefathers, America has been degraded to a land of warring factions and tribal hatreds. All we hear from our politicians are deflections of criticisms instead of solutions. What passes for debate in Congress has been reduced to little more than a spectacle. Americans have grown accustomed to turn inward, away from the senseless arguments and endless accusations. This is when true patriotism is lost. When individuals begin to lose faith in the persevering nature of the American People and the relevance of our nation’s principles, then they ultimately lose their patriotism.

I love my country because it is filled with hardworking people, a beautiful tradition of acceptance, and limitless freedoms and opportunities. The Democracy we experience in the United States and the power we have as individual citizens is unrivaled in the world. As an American, I have countless ways to express my desires and voice my concerns. As an American, my government is there to protect and preserve my basic human rights. As an American, I am constantly making history through the expression of my opinions. As Americans, WE all need to reestablish our faith in our country and regain our patriotism. WE must have the courage to hope.
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Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
I really enjoyed reading your essay (and kind of wanted to sing the National Anthem when I finished it). Thank you for entering such a well written essay to our contest :)

- Rebecca Thiegs (Stage of Life Co-Founder)
Posted: Monday, August 19, 2013 7:45:23 PM
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Comment by Zhango

Joined: 8/1/2013
Posts: 2
Thank you so much for your words! I'm very glad that you enjoyed reading my essay! :D
Posted: Monday, August 19, 2013 9:54:09 PM
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