Patriotism: A Word Defined

I consider myself to be somewhat an amateur Revolutionary War history buff. I’ve recently read two exemplary books on the subject, “Patriots”, by A.J. Langguth, and “1776”, by David McCullough. As I am now reading through David McCullough’s “John Adams”, I am awestruck at just what these men of uncanny education and foresight were able to accomplish with what could only be described as perseverance of pure willpower.

George Washington, between serving as both Commander in Chief of an undisciplined, untrained army, eventually being elected to two terms as our first president, gave almost 16 years of his life to an ideal. An ideal, which if it were not to have materialized, would have resulted in his hanging for high treason of British law.

The same can be said of John Adams. Though not as glorified by history, he was described by Thomas Jefferson as the “Colossus of Independence”, consistently fighting and lobbying the Continental Congress on behalf of liberty and independence for America. Adams had a wife, Abigail, and 5 children. Between serving in the Continental Congress and being ambassador to France, the Netherlands, and eventually England, Adams freely gave almost 12 years of his life to his fledgling county, not including his election as the 2nd President of the United States.

The word patriotism now is used more to diminish one’s love of country than to honor it. And at times, it is used as badge of dishonor to some.

The only people today worthy of the true spirit of the word are the men and women in our military, who give their daily lives, both in terms of time served away from home, and in some cases literally for our country.

They, as Washington and Adams, deserve our utmost gratitude and enduring admiration.

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