Patriotism - Memorial Day 2018

Happy Memorial Day, when we celebrate the sacrifices and patriotism of the men and women of our armed forces. The last few years, as we have been lead by those who want to "Make America Great Again," we've seen a rise in nationalistic attitudes often labeled "patriotism." At MainStream, we don't presume to know what makes a patriot, because love of country can be intensely personal, or intensely public.

To one person, honoring the symbols of our nation indicates patriotism. To another, holding government to account in protest is patriotic. To still others, serving those less fortunate is how they serve their country. How each of us expresses our patriotism is our own business.

But we do know what is not patriotic. Requiring of others a particular act to prove loyalty is not patriotic—be it standing for a song, speaking a pledge to God, or staying silent before injustice. These "tests" of patriotism are anathema to the spirit of the United States, and directly contradicted by the Constitution, the very document our government and armed forces are sworn to protect.

So, celebrate this day privately in mourning or remembrance, or loudly at a game with a crowd. Look through photos of relatives lost too soon, or visit with those who have come home proud, or lost, or hurting. But as you think on their sacrifice today, as you muse on what makes a patriot, think, too, on how you can step forward to protect the country as they have. Will you stand up for truth? Justice? Dignity?

It starts here. With you. Do more than vote.

Please have a wonderful Memorial Day.

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