U.S. citizens show true patriotism


By Rob Henry

Sydney, Australia, resident

I have recently returned from a month long stay in La Jolla, San Diego.

Even though we, that being Australia, and the United States, have been staunch allies for nearly 100 years now, America is often misunderstood, and more often misrepresented by foreign media, and hence the foreign public end up with a maligned view of what your country stands for.

Comparatively speaking, Australia, and its citizens, are extremely patriotic people, we are proud of our nation, our achievements, and the things we have come to believe in as our birthright: freedom of speech, freedom of religious views, and the right to live in peace and raise our children in a loving, secure environment, free from the perils of the world. We share these same values with your nation. It is one of the things that has bound us together through troubled times. We do these things in a quiet way; you won’t see flags in front of people’s homes, we sing our national anthem as if we are slightly embarrassed, and we aren’t taught the oath of allegiance in our schools.

I was taken by a dear American friend to a baseball game, expecting to enjoy the game, drink a beer and soak up some sporting culture. Instead, the most profound moment came when the entire crowd rose as one and listened as the “Star-Spangled Banner” was played. Looking around it was plain to see the open love and affection the U.S citizens feel for their flag, their anthem and their nation. I got goose bumps as I watched in awe, watched a level of patriotism I can only dream we here in Australia could manifest, to unite us as it obviously unites you.

I also attended a town council meeting in the area I was staying in, expecting to get an insight into small-city politics. Instead, as everyone stood and faced the flag and gave the oath of allegiance, I was once again struck by the power of emotion Americans feel for their flag and the things it says about them and their place in the world. I was humbled by the power of American patriotism.

I believe everyone in your great nation should be proud of their heritage, their place in the world and the future your nation offers them. You have an amazing nation, rich in culture, strong and proud. I was constantly moved by the pride I saw in your nation.

I hope that tradition long continues. I hope the people of your nation keep flying that flag, hand on heart. We, the rest of the world, can learn a thing or to about what “patriotism” really means. It starts at home, in the hearts of simple people who share an ideal.