On 9/11 you often hear talk about patriotism and supporting troops and first responders. Much of the time these things are synonymous. You are a patriot by supporting the government, military, and establishment. I would suggest a slightly different definition of a patriot. To me, a patriot is someone who seeks to make our country better simply for the sake of making it better–no ulterior motives. They truly serve the country. Now, obviously, this lends itself to describing service men and women and other public servants, but it also includes a much broader group of people. It is patriotic to care for your family. It is patriotic to raise your kids to be self-sufficient and productive members of our society. It is patriotic to be self-sufficient and manage your life in a way that you can give to others in need. It is patriotic to pick up trash in public places. It is patriotic to not put the trash there to begin with. It is patriotic to attend school and do the best you can so that you can later contribute to society more meaningfully. It is patriotic to work hard in your job no matter what it is, from retail to trash collection to food service to doctors and lawyers and carpenters and factory workers. It is patriotic to have a small business that contributes to your community and exists to serve others and its employees. It is patriotic to innovate, to dream, and to help others accomplish their dreams. It is patriotic to share your ideas in a constructive, altruistic way.
All of these things are what make America great. These are the marks of a patriot.
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