Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What's happened to patriotism?

I made an intriguing observation this past week.  Last Tuesday was the anniversary of the September 11th attacks here in the US.  Everywhere I looked on Facebook, there was another "We will always remember/we will never forget" photo/post.  You would have thought the day was very patriotic, and to those that were sincere in their sentiments, it was.  I noticed that both the high school and elementary school had their flags flying at half-staff.  Most of the businesses that fly flags had lowered theirs.
However, as I drove around our neighborhood, I found it interesting that ours was the only house on our street flying a flag that day.  Two houses with permanent flagpoles both had the flag flying, but only one had been lowered to half-staff.  I saw one other house as I was leaving the subdivision that had a flag posted.  So, of the 40 or so houses I passed, only four had flags outside and only three of those were deliberately placed that day.

In contrast, on Saturday there were three houses just up the street all flying Nebraska flags prominently.  I know from past observations, there are many others throughout the neighborhood.  As I went shopping, I saw red shirts everywhere I turned.  Here in the heart of Husker country, game days are almost treated like a holiday, yet days of historical significance to our country are glossed over and hardly given a second thought.

And so I ask, why the difference? Is patriotism a value that just isn't being taught anymore?  Have we as a people lost our sense of patriotism?  I've always felt a strong sense of patriotism, in large part from the influence of my grandfather, who was a World War II veteran.  His stories and example taught us about patriotism and he gave clear expectations for us to follow.  My parents also taught us to respect the flag and our country, especially as my brothers progressed through the ranks of scouting.  However, I am thinking more and more that I am in the minority.

This brings up the thought as I look forward to The Artist's homecoming parade on Friday -- how many will give the flag the respect it deserves?  I'm sure you've seen this photo:
I find this image so touching, and at the same time, so telling about society.  I don't remember exactly from last year's homecoming parade, but I think my children and I were some of the few gathered on the street to actually salute the flag as it passed by.  My guess is that this lack of respect isn't something that is unique to the United States.  This apathy probably exists everywhere.  My hope is that patriotism and respect can be resurrected and not become lost to the selfishness of society.

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