The Patriotism America Needs

Jerry Coffee
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Wednesday - July 06, 2005
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Patriotism, my dictionary says, is love and loyal or zealous support of one’s country.

Who among us, acting upon our love for our spouse or child, would not give our life to save them from death? Who among us, acting upon love for our country, would not give our life to save it? Do we all love America enough to die for it?

Well, we know for sure there are nearly 2,000 young patriots — young men and women of our military who have sacrificed their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan so that America may live. And God bless them! Who among you, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters and friends of those fallen patriots, though heartsick and bereaved beyond words, understand and take pride that your loved one gave his or her life to save America? And they did, you know!

In World War II we fought enemies on both sides of the Earth for the principles of freedom and democracy. Yes, we needed to avenge the death and destruction wrought at Pearl Harbor, and prevent an emboldened Japan from further attacks. But after the initial shock, few really believed the actual survival of America was in question. In Europe, because of our strong ethnic, political and cultural ties with England — the “mother country” — we fought for England’s survival, and against fascism, but not in an immediate sense to save America. And besides, in those days the Atlantic and Pacific oceans were formidable ramparts.

In Korea and Vietnam, we fought the evil of communism, the leaders of which had avowed world domination. But communist domination of America seemed like a long way off, so again we fought for the principles of liberty and justice, the antitheses of communist dogma. Even under the dark threat of Soviet ICBMs, the crazy “security” of MAD — mutually assured destruction — gave us some weird comfort that America was still safe. Perhaps since the Revolutionary War, we Americans have never had cause to believe we were really fighting for the immediate survival of our country.

But since 9-11-01, all that has changed. In our war against global terrorism, or more accurately, fanatical Islamic fundamentalism, the immediate survival of America and our people is indeed at stake. The hatred and dedication of the enemy is unprecedented. It really bugs me that our mainstream media, under the guise of concern for our sensibilities, refuse to rerun the detailed images of a charred Pentagon or the Trade Towers in flames with desperate workers jumping to their deaths before the horrendous spectacle of the collapse. Or how about reminding us of the enemy we face by rerunning the video of charred bodies of Americans hanging from the bridge in Falluja, or regularly show us the grisly beheadings of innocents to the chants of Allah Akbar? You can bet al Jazeera showed the so-called atrocities of Abu Ghraib ad nauseaum.

Our patriotism is manifested in the things we do or say. If I say this or if I do that will it encourage the men and women who are fighting for me to save America, or will it encourage the hateful jihadists trying to kill them and to destroy America? Am I advocating a policy that will honor and make meaningful the sacrifices that have been made by our troops, or one that will ultimately make their efforts meaningless: ie victory or defeat?

This Fourth of July week, the 229th anniversary of America’s birth, we are reminded of those founding fathers who, with the vision of a country truly worth dying for, pledged “their fortunes, their lives and their sacred honor.” That’s the patriotism we desperately need now, because our enemy has pledged his fortune, his honor and especially his life to destroy us.

Are we patriotic enough to die for America? The answer “yes” should come easy because this war is for keeps, and America, our children and our grandchildren are literally one and the same.

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