On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I arrived at my women’s Bible study to find the women gathered around the TV, their faces showing looks of horror.
A plane had just hit one of the Twin Towers in New York City.
It must be an accident, I thought.
Then, we watched as the second plane hit.
This was no accident!
It was obviously an attack.
We waited for further news. For weeks, we hung on the newscasts and scanned the papers.
Like Pearl Harbor, it was “a day that will live in infamy.”
I recall the flurry of patriotism that followed in our community.
A rally was held in Ottawa’s Washington Square, with patriotic music and speeches. The band played, we recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and we sang the “Star Spangled Banner.” Those who had previously served in various branches of military service – the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, etc. – were asked to stand.
Lots of people attended and there were flags all over the park and throughout the town – a greater display of patriotism than I had seen for a long time.
The word patriotism comes from the Latin word for fatherland – love and respect for one’s country – the kind of respect we show a father.
Patriotism is a good thing, right?
Recently, I received this query on Facebook: “Would you fly the American flag in your front yard?”
Why wouldn’t I? I thought.
We were pleased to return from a recent Memorial Day trip to find our driveway lined with American flags, courtesy of our thoughtful neighbors, who knew we would be pleased.
Our neighborhood is very patriotic – some of us display the American flag all the time.
On holidays, there are flags lining many driveways.
Patriotism is a feeling of love for one’s country – pride in what a country stands for and the principles upon which it was founded. While not blind to problems, patriotism emphasizes positive shared values.
Some may differentiate between the terms patriotism, a devotion to a particular place and way of life, and nationalism, which can be a sense of superiority defined by race, religion or language.
America was born of the idea that all men are created equal, that they have been given by God certain rights that create a freedom to pursue happiness, worship God, speak their views in public and choose their leaders. American patriotism is an affirmation and celebration of those founding ideas.
“America was a new thing in history, different from other countries,” said Peggy Noonan, who spoke of patriotism Dec. 9, 1998, at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.
“Other nations evolved one way or another from tribes, from a gathering of the clans, from inevitabilities of language and tradition and geography. But America was born – and born of ideas; that all men are created equal, that they have been given by God certain rights that can be taken from them by no man, and that those rights combine to create a thing called freedom.”
Patriotism draws us together – it’s a good thing!
So fly those flags!
• Carole Ledbetter of Ottawa is the author of two books, “Carole’s Columns” and “Who Am I Now? Growing Through Life’s Changing Seasons,” and is a speaker consultant for Stonecroft Ministries. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.