What is “Patriotism” and how do you express it?
That is a question that I have often asked myself. I look around at homes in nearly every neighborhood and see American flags proudly displayed. They are flown high on poles that reach up into the sky pointing to the Heavens above. Some are displayed on shorter poles set at a slight angle; the flag is draped below and seems to bow to those who pass by. The image of this, in my mind, makes me remember the soldiers who fought, with their last breath, for our freedom on the many fields of war. Is the act of displaying a flag Patriotism?
Yes, it is patriotic to fly a flag, but anyone can hang a flag. Maybe Patriotism is being a soldier, but what about those of us who chose not to, or could not, become a soldier? Are they any less patriotic?
Patriotism is not a physical item that can be held up high and shown to others. It is not a flag, an eagle, or even a copy of our Declaration of Independence or Constitution. These are all symbols that represent a free America, but they do not represent what Patriotism truly is.
So, what is Patriotism?
Patriotism is spiritual, much like having faith in God. You believe God is there and that he will hear your prayers, but you cannot see or touch God, in a literal and physical manner, as you can see and touch your child. The spirit of God is within all of us just the same as Patriotism.
A believer in God devotes their love, support and loyalty to following the Ten Commandments, brought down the mountain by Moses. They will defend the word of God, praise and worship him and carry his words with them through everything they do or say. Is Patriotism any different?
Today there was a news story about a young 11 year old lady. Her name is Harper Gruzins and I believe she is a Patriot. She has a talent that she shares, with the permission and guidance of her parents, Karlis and Kelli, to anyone who will listen to her beautiful voice. The news story tells us that Miss Harper is being criticized for her performance of the American National Anthem at a Major League Soccer Game. Listening to her performance, and watching the faces of those in attendance it is clear she had great difficulty singing the song clearly and well. As it turns out, she has successfully sung it beautifully at other events. As she stated later to FoxNews.com, ““It wasn’t my best performance because I couldn’t hear myself and the blow horns got me off key. But God allowed this to happen, so I know it’s what he wants."
That, my friends, is Patriotism!
Harper Gruzins, with a deep devotion of faith in God, stood in front of thousands of people and belted out our National Anthem. Most honest Americans will admit that they wouldn’t ever try doing the same. She admits it wasn’t her best performance, but she didn’t quit and walk off, instead she displayed the same courage that a soldier would do on the battlefield when face to face with the enemy. She pressed on, word by word, note by note, to the bitter yet strong end. Harpers loyalty toward our nation, her devoted love of our country, and her faith in knowing that she is just an instrument by stating, “God allowed this to happen” is Patriotism.
Patriotism is faith, it is support, it is loyalty, and it is love for and defense of one’s own country. Patriotism is felt in the heart and then displayed through our words, our voices and our actions, much the same as our faith in God.
Do not criticize Harper Gruzins for standing up proudly to show her love for America, instead congratulate her for her bravery and for being a Patriot!
Watch Harper Gruzins beautifully sing the National Anthem here:
Inspiration for my poems and stories come from a variety of places. Sometimes it is a comment heard or read, or I may hear a song that calms or stirs my emotions. Many of the ideas come from looking at a picture or viewing a piece of art. There are few moments that go by through may day when I don't imagine how something I see or hear might be inspirational enough to be a poem or a story.
Today was no exception. I woke up late this morning, my wife had already left for work, and seconds after I opened my eyes I thought about how much I would miss her if she never came home again. I know that is a thought that happens often to many people around the world, but somehow it felt that I was the only person thinking it at that moment in time. This led me to imagine what we might do and where we would go if we won the lottery. An odd way of thinking, first I miss her then I think about what I would do if I was still with her and we had unlimited funds.
Lucky for me my wife is healthy and will make it home safely tonight as she always does. As far as the lottery goes, I have yet to hit the jackpot, but one can dream!
So, the day went on and I had a few other thoughts of what to write about. It was just about three o'clock when I was reading some of my Facebook friends posts, and there it was. A woman named Kathy (I won't tell you her last name for her privacy) wrote a post and I noticed that she changed her icon. Immediately I sent her a message asking if she knew who the artist was who painted the piece she had used as her icon. Soon, with help of another person who read my question on her post, and Kathy herself, I had my answer.
The artist and I are not followers of the same religion, but it is clear that he, an artist using paint, and I, an artist with the written word, do share a similar love of country and of God. We both use our talents to praise God and to emphasize our political beliefs as well. He and I equally share in the opinion that we are shackled with the chains of oppression, but among us are those who have the keys to rise and shed the chains for us all. We can wallow in the misery or together rise to our feet and demand our rights and freedoms be returned to us and our posterity.
Both of us have people who love what we have to offer, but we also have those who choose to disagree with us in not so uncertain terms. We welcome the compliments of many and even though we disagree with them, we respect the freedom of those who choose to argue with our opinions and beliefs.
This is America, the land of the free and the brave, and the talented. My evaluation of Jon McNaughton's website and his comments on his Facebook page were all I had to determine who this man is. As I allowed my eyes to wander from one beautiful piece of artwork to the next and by reading his comments, I determined that we are the same in so many ways which brought me to write this entry.
Please take a moment to visit Jon's website. Look at the work he is doing. He is a very talented and spiritual man who, through his art, tells a story that is touching and powerful.
What are we to think following any tragedy, is it anger or forgiveness?
Here is what I think…
We should have an awareness of humanity, that we are all created equal. That within each of us we have the ability to hurt, the compassion to care, and the power to forgive one another.
Will discussions of Gun Control, finger pointing toward the Tea Party and the Occupy Movement, and Political Gamesmanship arise in the aftermath of yet another high profile crime?
Absolutely, but as freedom loving Americans, we must hold true to the fact that we are all equal in Gods eyes.
We know not who may be the next victim, or the next perpetrator.
We know not if a simple, "Hello, can I give you a hug", said to a stranger, will be the key to saving another persons’ life.
What we do as individuals today, tomorrow, next week or on Election Day will not change what we know to be true.
The color of our skin, the life we choose to live or any other differences we have does not change the fact that we are all human.
We all live, we all die, and we all bleed red; all of us are collectively humanity; humanity is equal!