Patriotism builds up

What a difference a few generations make! Last evening, I was on listening to some music. I had the opportunity — or, I’d rather say, I had the honor of listening to Kate Smith, a much loved and respected American lady, introduce and sing for the first time Erving Berlin’s “God Bless America!”

As I listened, it nearly brought tears to my eyes. That’s right — a grown man sitting in front of the TV and getting all choked up. I’m not ashamed to say that. And thoughts kept running through my mind, “What’s happened . . . where have we gone . . . how far are we going to go . . . what’s happened to the patriotism that we once had. Will it ever come back as it once was?”

There may be some, especially the younger generation, who may be thinking to themselves, “So what — what’s the big deal?” I can understand why they would see it that way and it’s because they do not understand how it was in those days — they have a hard time imagining what patriotism really is because they seldom see it these days. They do not understand how patriotism helped win World War II.

Yes, it was patriotism and not demonstrations that help bring us to peace. Those who were living in those days might understand that last statement. So, what do they see now instead of patriotism??

Think about it. What has been the big news in our country for the last couple of weeks? I’m sure you all know what it is. It’s football!

I better make myself clear before someone misunderstands me. Am I referring to the NFL in general? Of course not. Some may say that the owners should have come down harder on all the players. And that is certainly a fair statement — I’ve thought the same. But we are all individuals and I’m certain there are issues only the owners understand. Am I criticizing all NFL players? No, I’m not pointing my finger at the NFL or all the players. But I do criticize those few who have desecrated our American flag.

So I ask myself, why are they doing this? Do they have some legitimate complaints? Sure, who doesn’t — we all have a few complaints. Is there some discrimination in America? Yes, I’m sad to say it, but there are still some but to what degree, I’m not sure. Is it America, our country, that is guilty of discrimination? No, it’s individuals who are guilty. America, our country, has even made some laws to help resolve the problem. There have even been some who have lost their job because they used the wrong word.

In view of this and all the other violent demonstrations we are experiencing, do we need to make more laws that will help bring about more contentment with those who are demonstrating? I will answer that question with a quote by Albert Einstein, “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.”

In my opinion, one of the false assumptions that too many of us make is to look without for a solution to our problems and talk about what “they” should do. I believe we all should look within to see if there might be anything within that could be contributing to the problem.

It was said best by Oliver Wendell Holmes, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” You can interpret that in any way that will be comfortable with you.

Let us remember Kate Smith, whose inspiring way of singing “God Bless America” warmed the heart of many; Let us remember Dr. Martin L. King Jr., whose words, if followed, would bring more peace than any words spoken since. Yes, God bless America and God bless the memory of Smith and King.


Frank SanGregory,