Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Editorial missed definition of patriotism


    In the Our View opinion page (“Disputing patriotism is an American tradition”) of the Idaho Mountain Express of July 3, the writer struggles with the definition of patriotism. Perhaps I can offer some clarity.
    My allegiance to this country and the freedoms it offers was formed, in good part, by the story of my father. He came to this country as a young child from a poverty-laden small village in Eastern Europe. The welcome mat of freedom and opportunity was laid before him and his family. Although life was very difficult materially, he battled his way to a middle-class lifestyle for the family he would ultimately create. My patriotism is steeped in the gratitude I feel toward the United States, for allowing my father to come here and to grasp the opportunities available.
    I gave texture to this gratitude upon graduation from college. Eschewing law school, I joined the Marine Corps, as a very small repayment for what this country did for my father. It was one of the very best decisions I have ever made. My story, of course, is not unique. Millions and millions of us understand this blessing of liberty, which our Constitution provides.
    How about this for a definition of patriotism: reverence and gratitude for the freedoms and opportunities our country offers us?
Marty Erdheim
Elkhorn and New York




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