Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Modern Patriot

By Janet Denton

You asked the question; the modern patriot, who are you?
My answer; I am the modern patriot.
Patriots are those who love their country dearly and zealously support its authority and interests. They serve and defend even to death. They are leaders and an inspiration to those around them, and a true believer in their countries abilities.
Today’s modern Patriot is not much different from those of yesteryear. We fight a good fight and maintain that our country is number ONE! Being a good patriot does not mean we are better than others, only that we are proud of what we have accomplished in this country -and that we have no intentions of giving it up.
I consider myself a patriot in every sense of the word. I love my country devotedly. As a patriot, when I stand and salute the flag of the United States of America, I see beyond the cloth, beyond the colors, beyond the waves as it flies. I see what the U.S. Flag embodies, security, peace, freedom for every man woman and child, all of the things this country stands for and is based on. It makes me feel a part of something greater than anything I could be as an individual.
When I look at that flag and I say the Pledge of Allegiance; I know exactly what the words mean and mean every word of it, and I believe deep in my heart that it is worth fighting for the right to proclaim it in public places.

I taught my sons to take their hats off and stand in respect of the flag and what it represents. If you know anything about Texas men, you know, that is the only time they take their hats off.

I support and respect the president, even when I vehemently disagree with his decisions, and I vote in every election, even if it is just a school board election. I believe that to be a true patriot one must stay informed on what the government is doing, and exercise our freedom of speech to disagree with our government. It is not unpatriotic to provide constructive criticism on policies that we disagree with. It is the patriot’s duty as a citizen. I have been told many times that I am politically incorrect; to which I reply, it depends on ones politics.
A true patriot understands that freedom and democracy come with a price, and if necessary, you must be willing to defend it with your life.
As a patriot, I fight the wrongs of this world and oppose tyranny where I see it. Even within my own country.

When I think of all those who came before me, it makes me extremely proud to do my patriotic duty, although I really don’t look at voting as a duty, it is a pleasure and an honor for me. A true patriot exercises their right to vote, understanding the platforms of the candidates, and making an informed decision based on the good of all Americans and not just based on a political affiliation. I have seen so many countries that do not allow the people to vote, and if they do vote, they are reprimanded by beatings, rape or death. I watched the news as many people in Iraq went to the polls to vote. What courage it took for them to do that. I wondered how many would die in retribution.
My family came here from Ireland. I know all the stories about the Irish Catholics, the fights, the drinking, the ignorance. I also know how hard my parents fought to overcome the stereotyping. My parents believed in America and their patriotic duty to raise good patriots for this country. We were sent to school and expected to learn and achieve. My parents did not drink and we were not allowed to either. We were expected to go to work and be productive members of society. We were expected to help others in our community who were in need and to volunteer wherever needed. We were taught that patriotism is considering the needs of others as well as our own. It is giving back to ones community and country.
My parents believed that the American Dream existed, and was attainable, but that you had to be willing to work hard to achieve it. I believe that this is still true today. The problem I see is that so few are willing to actually work. We belong to a generation of “give me everything for free, and everyone owes me and I shouldn’t have to work for it”.
My parents did everything in their power to be true Americans. They both became American citizens in 1950. It was the proudest day of their lives.
I have twin brothers who both became police officers, then they went off to Vietnam. They did what their Commander–in-Chief asked of them. They fought, they killed, they lived a horrible existence, because war is hell! And they came home to be spit on. They were treated worse than the true traitors in our country today who are now being treated as heroes! It was a good thing they were both cops before becoming Vietnam Vets, they had learned how to deal with ignorant people. The war took its toll on both of them, but today they are leaders in their communities.
A true patriot appreciates our Armed Forces, not just during times of war, but in peace as well, and we appreciate the sacrifices they and their families make every day they serve.
I also spent two years in Vietnam as a nurse. The pain of so many young men wounded and dieing still haunts me to this day. It fills my soul and my senses. I can sometimes still smell the death and decay. And yet, at the same time it lifts me up and fills my heart with joy. I was proud to go to war and help to heal so many who were there doing as our country’s leaders commanded. Yes, it was hard, so much death and pain surrounded me for so long. I learned then that I had to fight for what was right in this world.
I saw my youngest son off to desert storm. Three of my grandsons and a granddaughter are in Iraq as I write this and another is over there somewhere, but we are not allowed to know where due to the sensitivity of his work. I am so proud of them and what they are doing for this country. I pray to God that this country has learned its lesson on how to treat and to welcome home those who have done their duty to this country.
Patriots are the people who protect this country. They take the battle to the enemy so the battle is not fought here on our land. Patriots stand up to be counted and are the first to volunteer when there is a need anywhere.
I am the modern patriot, and so are those men and women now fighting this war on terror.

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