Proud to be Patriotic

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I haven’t felt very patriotic lately. I’ve been extremely discouraged. Discouraged by the corruption in politics, discouraged by my democratic representation – or lack thereof, discouraged by the divisiveness in this land of the free, home of the brave.

I have been frustrated by policy, disgusted by elected officials and unsettled by the helpless feeling that I can’t do anything to change any of it.

I brought these feelings with me to the Veteran’s Day program at the elementary school last week.

And by the end of the hour-long celebration, my heart was swelling with pride – with patriotism.

I sat in a gym with more than 600 students. They crowded onto the floor facing a stage full of local veteran relatives. They sang and sang and sang tribute to the soldiers and professed their gratitude for their service.

It dawned on me that my patriotism can be separate from my disgust for government.

As I watched the men and women who had devoted their time and sacrificed more than I could ever imagine to serve our country my heart was full.

I was reminded that there are a lot of good people in this country who care for one another. People who would risk their lives for our nation – for me.

I can’t tell you how amazing it was to hear all the student voices sound together in “I’m Proud to be an American.” They sang so loudly, so proudly.

They haven’t lost their patriotism. They believe in this land that they love.

It was inspiring, it was refreshing.

When and why did I stop believing?

Children are amazing. I am continually learning from mine. I couldn’t help but tear up while my oldest joined with his sixth grade classmates and sang about being united.

They sang “We Are One” a song that says we can’t remain free unless we remain united.

Children are a lot better at being one – being united.

I watched them join together to celebrate this nation. To celebrate its soldiers. To celebrate its freedom.

And in watching them I started believing again.

This country may have a lot of things that are getting me down, but every once in a while I am reminded that there is still hope. Hope for a better government. Hope for a safer nation. Hope for the leaders of tomorrow. Hope for patriotism.

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