Photo by Scott Platt
An individual’s patriotism is measured by showing respect, loyalty, and love to their country. The book Grey Feathers: Led by Love of Country by Daniel Dewald shows its extreme expression. However, one doesn’t have to go through war to show this love.
Humans have the natural tendency to affiliate and wish for acceptance by a group. Most inherently prefer to be with others, whether with family, friends, or a group associated with their specific beliefs. This desire to be part of something is crucial to one’s sense of self by providing their lives purpose and meaning. It may also be connected with their belief that people can serve a bigger purpose in life if they’re with others. As they say, there is power in number.
The most prominent form of belongingness a person can experience is with their country. People identify with their countrymen regardless of possible differences in their opinions and beliefs. With this interdependence comes not only the solace and reassurance that one is perpetually part of a group but also their responsibility toward that group.
One doesn’t only identify as an American without proactively protecting and making his country, America, better. This affection, loyalty, and respect for one’s country are referred to as patriotism.
Patriotism is an important and highly treasured concept within countries.
It’s responsible for uniting its people, and this togetherness quintessentially fosters growth and progress. Whether helping each other through the pandemic or offering assistance in times of natural disasters, patriotism brings people together.
Therefore, to love one’s country goes beyond statements. It goes beyond claiming, “I love this country.” Patriotism works in the same way as romantic relationships. And no such relationship flourishes by mere words. It needs action. It needs passion. It needs effort.
Love isn’t laid back. It’s not about waiting for results and enjoying the happiness and satisfaction that comes with it, despite the lack of contribution. To love one’s country means dedicating oneself to the hustle and bustle of expressing this faithfulness and affection.
The book Grey Feathers: Led by Love of Country by Daniel Dewald presents how far people can go to express patriotism. The book revisits the Vietnam war and what the soldiers and regular citizens went through to show love for their country. They braved through the war for its protection and triumph, sacrificing themselves in line for their nation.
What these people demonstrated is an extreme form of patriotism. However, while fighting for one’s country might be the most selfless demonstration of patriotism, it isn’t the only way. Not everyone can serve and lay their lives down for their country. And that’s okay.
Patriotism isn’t measured by how many lives are taken. While the media has shown that the willingness to die for another is the near-perfect way to show love, it doesn’t apply to patriotism.
Beyond respecting the country’s flag and national anthem, there are other ways of expressing patriotism in the safest yet sincerest form possible.
On top of this list, perhaps, the best way to protect and care for one’s country is by ensuring that the right people govern it. Additionally, voting doesn’t only make sure the nation progresses through the proper governance. It also provides safety for the people. People can volunteer to assist during the election. They may also see that the systems and processes during the election are done with utmost safety and honesty.
Voting isn’t the end to what people can do to make sure their country stays protected.
People should hold people accountable if the elected officials do something against their promises (primarily a safer country). Politics doesn’t end with the voting period. It’s an ever-present affair that people must always stay hawk-eyed.
Protests are one way to do this. But people must also remember to execute these protests responsibly and properly. While holding officials accountable is essential, this doesn’t mean people can exempt themselves from acting decently.
Two wrongs will never make a right.
Other than politics, there is also another way for people to ensure the country stays protected. Cleanliness and order are other measures of protection. Physically, people can contribute to making sure their areas remain clean and orderly. They can do so through, well, cleaning and abiding by rules and laws that fall under these matters.
Cleanliness may seem trivial for it to be considered a measure of patriotism. But with the calamities and natural destruction the world is experiencing, paying attention to this matter will surely alleviate problems in the country. Nothing is more patriotic than taking time off your day to ensure that your country is clean, making it less prone to these calamities.
Lastly, one’s most remarkable demonstration of patriotism is by loving their country enough. This means not loving it a little too much and not any lesser. Patriotism shouldn’t be done blindly. Nobody should honor the nation they’re under to the point that they’re willing to put others down.
Blind patriotism isn’t patriotism since the country doesn’t benefit from this type of service in the long run.