This is our country . . .

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I’ve always been very patriotic. I think I got it from my maternal grandpa. He was a very quiet man who never pushed his ideals…but there was always things you just automatically knew about him…one of those being his intense love of country. He was a WWII vet who never talked about his experiences because they were too haunting, even decades after the fact, to bring up. Because of this, at a very early age I recognized how many sacrifices it took to keep this Land afloat.
. . . .So I can’t describe how angry I feel when I see people who won’t show respect for our Pledge or National Anthem. I swear they’ve become nothing but rote words to most of my generation…it’s appalling!!
. . . .One of my dearest memories of my childhood was when we went to the local parade with this grandpa. Now, he had knee troubles all his life. Actually, they started in the war. He was injured when his plane was hit and he had to jump. We’re unsure whether he was shot in the knee or he landed wrong, but he was severely injured before being captured and was a POW for 18 months ( 1 year and a 1/2).
. . . .Anyway, at this parade, like always, people stood as the flags were carried around the corner. But not everyone. Some elderly can’t physically stand–which is understandable–and some fidgety children were too squirmy to. But for the most part people rose. And behind me, sitting in a lawn chair, I heard my elderly grandpa who could barely stand straight, groan and push himself up to stand the entire time those flags were slowly marched down main street. He was one of the last to sit down again. So tell me, if he could do it…why do my classmates think that sitting/leaning against their desk closed mouth as the pledge is being said over the loudspeaker is actually OK?!?
. . . .I often wonder what, not only my grandpa, but everyone I know who serves our country in any branch of the armed forces, think of when they see our flag. Do they see something deeper than us? Does that red in our Beloved Flag trigger haunting memories of fallen comrades…or their very own blood? Are they reminded of the agonizing pain they experienced? Does the white make them smile and rejoice that they were able to do good and protect us? What do they see?
. . . .This is why it ticks me to see the kid sitting next to me at the local basketball game listening to his iPod during the National Anthem. These people don’t DESERVE to be Americans!! I know that’s really harsh, but if you can’t appreciate why you’re here…then please, LEAVE!
. . . .Our country is known for having fierce pride and strong patriotism. This is a good thing!! What’s happening to it? As teens in this day, my generation loses respect for everything…how sad that we’ve lost it for this as well.
. . . .I know they’re only symbols, but it’s what they symbolize that is SO IMPORTANT!! They represent us, people. Who we are. It’s what gives me the ability to walk up to a stranger and, for two seconds, say, “Hey, I don’t care that you’re Jewish or Buddhist or atheist…I don’t care that you’re black or brown or red…I don’t care that you’re a …I don’t care that you aborted your baby…I still love you. Why? I may disagree with you, but that flag flying over yonder ties us together in the most unique bond ever known to mankind!!”
. . . .So, I guess I just wanted to say this: please, people, remember who we are. Let’s, once again, be PROUD to be an American!!!

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