for release Friday August 19, 2005
by Melodie Davis
Patriotism: The People Speak
As we wrap up the end of summer, I would like to use excerpts of e-mails and letters from readers written in response to my July 1 (Canada Day) and July 4 (Independence Day) column on finding new ways to be patriotic and express love of country. The column looked at why isn’t it patriotic to love your country so much that you critique it and look for alternate ways to make it an even better place.
Many readers wrote offering moral support and encouragement which I appreciate, especially since I expressed some apprehension about whether I would make people mad in what I wrote. Some respectfully disagreed. Since I invited people’s responses, I am using real names and locations unless not available or indicated.
“I would like to take this opportunity to extend a hearty thank you … I have cut it out and will file it for future generations because I think it is what is very timely in today’s world. … Yes I agree 100 percent with your question, why is it called yellow or chicken to believe in something so much that you would face death for it and accept the ridicule and scorn of the main stream culture rather than yield to it?” – Mose, Ohio
“Your recent article on patriotism has engendered a response from me. In 1972, after doing two years national service as a CO, I left “Amerika” for Canada--not as a draft dodger, but nonetheless as a political refugee. After having spent more than half my life now north of the border, I consider myself a Canadian totally. The few times I have had the misfortune to travel in “Amerika” have been uncomfortable and frightening. Yesterday was July 1, Canada Day. The parade which I attended had no military marching bands, no National Guard, no drum and bugle corps from the local high school, no grim green camo tanks or menacing trucks. Bagpipes aplenty, and an ever-shrinking squad of elderly veterans trying to keep up the pace. I object to your lumping our celebration with the jingoistic sabre-rattling which inevitably accompanies your glorification of July 4th. Yes, this Dominion does have its issues – with Quebec nationalism, with our First Nations people, with ethnic gangs in Vancouver and the other cities. But there is not the looming presence of God/Country/Military/Capitalism which seems to permeate your society…” – Harold, BC
“Just wanted to express my appreciation. I am a Christian and had sadly grown so leery of many Christians as of late. Christianity seems to equal far right … in today’s world and I’m totally at odds with that premise. My father is an American Baptist minister and a Democrat. An oxymoron? No. But seemingly rare in today’s society. I find myself reading Christian material and just waiting for the political hammer to drop … Thank you for speaking from a different Christian perspective, one that promotes love and true sanctity of human life.” – Kendra
“I really appreciated your article about Patriotism in the Somerset Daily American. I feel that Christianity should NOT be wrapped in the flag of the U.S.A. I am wondering if you are familiar with the Fellowship of Reconciliation? There is an excellent article in their May/June issue called ‘Moral Indignation.’” – Marlene, Pa.
“I just finished reading with interest your column; you made some good points; one of the best was your apparent surprise at finding that the ‘group of returning soldiers from Iraq were not all macho men.’ Perhaps it would do you good to see life from a military point of view, rather than the anti-military. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to persuade you to think otherwise … However, I am the wife of a retired Air Force captain; yes, fortunately, he never saw combat; but my father did, as a medic in WWII, and I grew up listening to his stories - both those he told, and those that he left untold. The gentlemen you ran into in the airport exemplify life in the military; good, upstanding, outstanding people who are trying to make the world a safer place for us all - and to allow all of us the freedom to express our viewpoints, regardless of what they are. Do you have some good points? Absolutely. Do I agree with all of your points? Absolutely not. But, what’s most important to me that I hope you realize is that those men you ran into - and impressed you - are doing everything they humanly can to keep YOU safe every day. … Thankfully, there have been people working hard in our country to make sure those invaluable lessons that many gave their lives for in years past have not been forgotten …” – Beatrice Showman
Finally, Mary of Ohio both e-mailed and sent a letter, along with contacting various other leaders and publications, calling all people of faith to prayer for world leaders. I appreciated this reminder very much. Sometimes prayer can seem like a cop out—praying for our leaders is easy to say, harder to do in an earnest and dedicated way. She subscribes to a prayer e-mail highlighting specific current issues and upcoming events and persons in positions of power to pray. Another discipline to consider is fasting—going without food and spending special hours or days in focused prayer for a specific need. These can be meaningful ways to “pray for our leaders.”
For more on this topic, see http://www.thirdway.com/peace/patriotism.asp or write for a new, free leaflet called “Good Citizenship Guide for Peace-Seeking Christians.” Send to: Another Way, Box 22, Harrisonburg Va., 22802, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (Please include your paper's name in your response.)
You can also visit Another Way on the Web at www.thirdway.com.
Melodie Davis is the author of seven books and has written her column since 1987. She taught feature writing and has won awards from the National Federation of Press Women, Virginia Press Women and the American Advertising Association. She and her husband have three daughters.
NOTES TO EDITORS: text = 947 words; end material = 105 words
We would appreciate it if you would include the "Globe Syndicate" bug at the end of the column.
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