What Patriotism means most

Patriotism means a lot of things.

Actually, patriotism means different things to different people.

To some it is more of a ceremonial thing.

To others it is actual service.

Yet, to others it is a deep and abiding appreciation for those who have served their country, especially in times of conflict.

Patriotism can be a feeling that brings chills at the playing or singing of the National Anthem.

It can be the tears that stream down the face at the laying of wreaths on Memorial Day.

Patriotism can be the pride that fills the heart of a veteran while saluting the flag.

This weekend the storied Memphis Belle, the flagship of the American air arsenal during WWII, will fly above metro Atlanta.

Surviving WWII veterans will be on hand for the Liberty Foundation Salute to Veterans Tour, that will offer flights on the Memphis Belle to the public at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport March 1-2.

The flights are a bit expensive, but so is freedom.

The Greatest Generation probably understood and experienced true patriotism in ways that most of us never will.

For them, the war was about one thing and one thing only — Freedom.

The principles of freedom were not about words in a history textbook.

Rather, it was an unalienable right and absolute privilege.

Liberty coursed through their veins.

As we think about our patriotism we should look beyond the uniform, look beyond the flag and look deeply within our own hearts.

To be an American patriot is to treasure our way of life, to value our founding documents, to celebrate our history of liberty and to believe in the core principles upon which our nation was founded.

Those principles are no where more clearly defined than in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Patriotism, in so many ways, is about about protecting, defending and believing in these five freedom — the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the freedom to assemble and the freedom to petition.

— Editor Jim Zachary