Do you get triggered when you see an American flag touch the ground? Do you fly a giant flag out the bed of your pickup truck? If this is you, well, you may be in love. No, not with that cute kid in math, something much, much better. You’re in love. With America.
But what is the love of one’s country, a.k.a. patriotism, to the average high schooler? While it’s probably true that no students ever really wondered this, it is nonetheless still an important question for even high school students to be asking, being Americans.
“I show respect to veterans,” senior Will Noel said regarding patriotism. Now, maybe this seems like an easy answer to get rid of the weird newspaper kid bugging you about patriotism, but it’s actually such an important point. How many war veterans do you walk past every single day without ever really knowing what horrors they may have witnessed or taken part in to keep you free? A majority of the time voluntarily!
The American Promise Alliance estimates there are about 1.4 million active members of the military right now. While there has been a military draft in the past, right now the military is completely volunteer. If this is a country where 1.4 million people are willing to risk their lives to maintain it, there must be something special they see in it.
So the fact that over a million people show they are willing to die for America is one reason to show pride for it, and as if that wasn’t enough there are more reasons too.
“The Declaration of Independence, the promises made in the United States constitution, I think those two things are what make the United States really great along with the people,” says Anouxa Vixathep, a social studies teacher, a refugee to the US, and world traveler.
He went on to say, “Have we as a country always lived up to those ideals? Of course not, we haven’t, but I think it’s the one country that tried to rectify those injustices, I mean there was a whole civil war fought over the issue of slavery, there’s the civil rights movement in the 60’s which continues on till now.”
Vixathep was originally born in Thailand and explained his father decided to move the family to the United States because, “He thought it would offer more opportunities for us.”
So whether or not you believe this makes America the best country, it is a solid job-well-done. But how does this relate to patriotism? Well even if you’re not necessarily the pickup-flag guy and maybe on the Fourth of July you just wish the world would be quiet and let you sleep. But if you can find a reason – any reason – to be proud of your country, well, you just may be in love. With America.