By Trista Hill, 8th Grader, Union Academy
Since the 9/11 attacks on the twin towers, Americans have been feeling patriotic. But I think it’s time for a refresher. Patriotism isn’t love of country if by “country” you mean scenery. Patriotism isn’t blind trust in anything our president tells us to do. It is not showing up to vote. Flying the flag can be a sign of patriotism but don’t ever suggest that it’s more than a sign. A few gestures and feelings don’t make you patriotic.
I am a patriotic American because I revere the ideas that motivated the founders. They put their lives and fortunes on the line. All men are created equal; they aren’t endowed by the government but their unalienable rights. Those rights include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Call it freedom, call it whatever you want, but it’s the backbone of which this nation was founded and what I believe in. It’s what makes us American.
It’s what every American dreams of. It’s what makes life worth living, fighting, and dying for. It’s come to my attention that America is falling short of the statements in the Declaration. However, this hasn’t changed my reverence for them, nor has it dimmed my hope that future generations of Americans will be re-enlightened by them. This type of patriotism gets me through rough times.
My patriotism is not affected by any politicians’ failures or mistakes. It is not affected by any problems in the economy or stock market. I never hesitate to smile when I see Old Glory waving in the air. I will never kneel before the flag, for I stand with my hand over my heart in respect for the military families who receive a folded one instead of their loved ones. I will stand because my family is active and retired from the military.
Freedom, understanding it, living it, teaching it, and supporting it; the land we walk on, the people I walk with. This entire essay had made me realize why I am proud to be an American. I am proud to be born into a family that includes firefighters, nurses, and soldiers. I am proud to back the blue and everything all of these brave men and women do for our freedom. Each and every one of them put their lives on the line. That, my fellow Americans, is what I believe patriotism is all about.
Submitted by Jim Hill, father of Trista Hill. This essay was written by Trista Hill and submitted to the VFW Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. Trista is an 8th grader at Union Academy in Franklin North Carolina. Trista’s essay Finished 1st place.