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Essay title: Patriotism

The recent terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have caused confusion on the topic of patriotism. The best way to start understanding patriotism is to simply define it. Patriotism is a person's level of loyalty toward their country. Displays of true patriotism are prominent in times of despair, such as wars and terrorist attacks. However, many people have discrepancies on what displays of patriotism really are. Some people believe that showing patriotism can be accomplished by waving the flag and singing the national anthem. Others believe that a person must be much more involved in a cause to show patriotism. It is true that waving a flag doesn't accomplish much. Although this action displays good intentions, it can be done with little effort or thought. Patriotism is much more than waving the flag and singing the national anthem.

Admittedly, waving the flag and singing the national anthem are not wrong things to do. These actions promote unity and raise moral. However, love for the country can be focused in ways that are much more productive. "Patriotism can no longer be defined by whether you think this is the greatest country in the world" (Gesford, 1). An act of patriotism must accomplish something. Making a personal sacrifice is an example. Donating money or joining the army would certainly benefit the country more than waving a flag.

Furthermore, many people have failed to realize how blind their actions are. Patrick Henry's speech to the Virginia Convention can be related to this fact. "No man thinks more highly than I do of patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights" (Henry, 88). The people that believe they have done enough by waving a flag and singing the national anthem have failed to form their own opinions of patriotism. If the United States has a government controlled by the people, then the strength of the country depends on the level of loyalty among the people.

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