Patriotism is a feeling of love, loyalty, and devotion for our nation and its leaders. Patriotism embraces dedication and helps support our nation. It symbolizes sacrifice for our country to protect its honor. I respect our nation, the citizens who live in it, and the principles our country was created on, such as liberty, free speech, freedom of religion, and fair treatment through our judicial system.
Two of my cousins serve in the armed forces. I see the love they have for our country and hear them talk about people who have different political views than they have. However, they respect everyone regardless of their political views and opinions. They work hard every day, taking time away from their families and putting their lives on the line, to keep our stars and stripes flying! Their dedication to our country inspires me to care about my friends, neighbors, community, and nation. I’m proud to be an American! I love our country and demonstrate this love by proudly waving a United States flag from my home, as well as flying a flag each time I go to the beach. In fact, the United States flag has such an impact on me that I take note every time I see one proudly waving — it’s a great reminder of my American identity and national pride, my patriotism!
In the time of crisis, patriotism unites us. Sept. 11, 2001, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, wildfires, and pandemics are all examples of natural disasters when everyone puts their differences aside to help others in need. In March, the Coronavirus pandemic prompted people around the world to make sacrifices to support one another — teachers started teaching online, buses began delivering lunches to our houses, the government provided stimulus checks to help families, and the list goes on and on. However, the upcoming election has sparked incidents of hatred and caused people to act differently towards others who share different views. Now, more than ever, people need to unite and celebrate patriotism. Even as a middle schooler, I understand the importance of being a positive contribution to something bigger than my family and my school. I must reach outside of my comfort zone and participate in community events that give back to others to show patriotism to my country. If everyone took pride in supporting our nation and its leaders, what a wonderful world this would be!
(Note: This essay led to McRae winning first place for the VFW Patriot’s Pin at the local and district levels. The Rockingham Middle School eighth-grader now moves on to the state level.)