Instinct or Patriotism

More than a decade after resigning my commission as a naval officer, I still find myself standing at attention during the national anthem. One slight difference: these days I put my hand over my heart rather than leaving my arms rigidly pinned at my sides.

I wonder. Is it instinct or is it patriotism?

After all, I do spend a fair amount of time ranting about what’s wrong in the good ol’ US of A. Has my patriotism waned? Is my political involvement only a result of anger over corrupt policies and politicians?

No.

My country, my state, my county, and my town have great potential. I may get frustrated at times, but I do believe in the opportunity that exists in this land. Despite our passionate disagreements, political corruption, and even occasional constitutional crises, the United States proves to be a great place for the Ordinary Citizen.

It’s a viewpoint reinforced as I watch the protests in countries like Egypt or Tunisia. I fervently hope that the citizens in those countries, and many others across the globe, are able to bring peaceful and positive change to their system of government. Still, as corny as it may sound to some, it makes me glad to be an American citizen.

I think I’ll continue standing tall as the notes of “The Star-Spangled Banner” waft through the air.

But I think that I’ll add a smile and an attitude of gratitude.

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