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A Portrait Of Patriotism

Today, as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I ran across a post by my friend Erik Hammack. I’ve known Erik for years, but we’ve never discussed his love of country and patriotism. It’s just not something that comes up in random conversation, but maybe it should. I asked him if I could re-post this on our website and readily agreed. I hope you are as moved by his words as I was:

Perhaps sometimes, there are moments that compel me to write. As I have gotten older, had a family, career and everything else that compiles itself upon us as adults, I have lost the time and motivation to weave words into ideas and stories. After the conversation with my son this evening, I have felt a desire to post a few things. Now I am feeling compelled to simply post a thought. I know I am long winded and often stray about in my ramblings, but I will proceed anyway.

As a father I feel there are things that are important for my children to know. I want them to know I love them more than my life. I want them to know they are special but not so special as deserve something for nothing. I want them to understand the value of hard work and the reward for doing things for yourself. My daughters are too young to understand most of this but my son, who is 14, is ripe for the corruption.
My eldest is a damn fine young man. He makes good grades, helps around the house, and carries kindness in his heart. He has developed a romantic view of our military that all young boys should have. But I want him to understand facts and I want him to see the history behind the image of romance. This prompted my little soapbox pieces on the Star Spangled Banner. I believe in this time, more than any other, our children learn and see the value of what has come before them. We are all fortunate here to have been born into a wonderful country, a land of beauty and vastness. Regardless of the person who occupies the White House, this land is still called the United States of America. There have been 43 presidents before the current one. None of them were able to destroy this dream we have. The reason is somewhere, there was too much respect and love of this land to allow that to happen. Today is no different. I am not advocating any political side, party or agenda, I am promoting the idea of patriotism and love for our home. In the end, this land, is our home. And I try to instill in my son to love this home and her history. To share that love and history with those around you. To take a brief moment out of your life, and learn some history to cling to and spread. I believe that if we, this nation of eclectic people, each take this moment to learn our history and to share it, then we can make this nation great again. We have become so bitter as to whatever political party is not ours, that we have forgotten we are all countrymen. Perhaps it is time to stop seeing black, white, gay, man or woman, and see American. Perhaps it is time that we look at the person in the mirror and realize the blood, tears, pain, laughter and dreams that allowed us to get up that morning and reflect upon ourselves. Maybe I’m just a fool to believe but I do. Because as I wrote what I did earlier, I looked at an image of a little beaten up scrap of cloth. Stained, singed, torn and battered, that little scrap bore red and white stripes, a blue field with tattered white stars. That little scrap stood through a storm as shrapnel, bombs and fire rained down upon it. On a dark night, so long ago, that little flag believed in the people fighting for her enough to stand her ground and not fall. So if a little flag could do that, and be part that inspiration to face overwhelming odds and find victory, then I will be a fool. I will tell my children what a great land this is, what their forefathers did for their home. What liberty means and how it applies to us all. So that is my rant for tonight. The thoughts of middle aged man who still believes in dreams.

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