A Patriotic Hear Amid Political Rhetoric…And An Anecdote To Live By!
A vivid memory I have of my youth is that my parents often expressed feelings of gratitude for being blessed with citizenship in this great land of America! Perhaps because my dad and mom were just one generation removed from grandparents who had made the hard choice to leave the countries of their birth and seek better opportunities and freedoms in the United States, they always felt inspired to be good citizens. I can recall overhearing bits and pieces of conversations between my parents, friends and relatives on occasion, when they wondered together if they would have had the courage to make the same decisions under similar circumstances. To be sure, some spirited political discussions were enjoyed once in a while, my dad would often play the devil’s advocate to the passionate views expressed by one of my aunt’s about government leaders. Their banter was done in good jest and never ended in anything but good-humored laughter!
My dad also related stories about how his feelings of being a good citizen and showing loyalty and patriotism for our nation started as early as grade school. He said that much of what he knew about the founding of our country, our colonial forefather, the struggles of 1776, and the westward movement, all went back to that impressionable stage of his life.
He wrote these thoughts in his life history:
“…my patriotism was also strengthened by the positive expressions of my parents concerning our nation. Our state and national leaders were spoken of far more frequently with respect and appreciation than with criticism and rejection.”
Another powerful influence in my dad and mom’s lives that perhaps seemed to have had the most impact on their allegiance to being discreet and loyal citizens, was the decision on the part of some of their family members to devote their efforts to giving service to our country in an official capacity. These brave, young souls fought in far off lands to defend and preserve the rights and traditions we’re all privileged to enjoy as American citizens.
My father’s two brothers were both pilots in World War II. His brother, Lloyd, was killed near the end of the war at age twenty two, when his plane apparently crashed into the side of a mountain during a rainstorm as occupation military personnel were being transported into Germany. My mother’s two oldest brothers had lifetime careers serving in the United States Air Force.
Being Good Citizens in Today’s Political Climate
In our society today, with the amount of political rhetoric we hear, especially during election time; and with the onslaught of news from media pundits, it is surprising to me that anyone has the stamina to withstand the character dissection that running for office entails. It behooves us then, to know our responsibilities for being good citizens and not let the political arena become our scapegoat for justifying the hardships we might feel in our daily lives. If this is our mindset, it should prove to help us to not be complacent about working hard and being productive, problem solving people!
May our patriotic hearts beat strong and proud!
An Anecdote to Live By
My father had his own epiphany on how to be a good citizen and live a happy life!
“One day I met a friend who had been a judge for many years–his name was Zachary Champlin. He had unusually rich experiences in working with people who had been involved in serious and tragic situations. I shook his hand and said to him, ‘Judge Champlin, tell me one thing a person should do to have a happy life.’ Without hesitation he answered, ‘Stay out of jail.’ This brief reply had many ramifications in my mind. Basically it means to be a proud, loyal, and patriotic citizen; to appreciate the great blessings we have to be born citizens of the United States of America.”
–as told by LeRoy Jorgensen
What I’m learning now is…
It goes without saying, that we should never underestimate the influence our example of being good citizens will have on our children! We can study and learn more about how we can serve and contribute to our communities, then share this knowledge with our children. What I’m learning now is we can also strive to really appreciate the political process, even when some outcomes don’t reflect our desires. In so doing, we can help our children truly respect the blessings that their citizenship provides!
Have a discussion around the dinner table about how “electoral votes” vs. “popular votes” determine how a president is chosen! Then share how it goes.
In honoring our parents and grandparents and the fine traditions of their generations, what can we do to inspire some degree of the same respect from our children and grandchildren?
As our patriotic hearts lead our actions, may political issues be seen in a more positive light!
I’d also like to give a personal tribute to my youngest daughter, Mandi and her neat husband, Cole Gibbons. I will never forget the day three years ago, shortly after they were married, when they left in their rented Penske truck to travel across country to New York City. Mandi is realizing her dream of attending NYU and is working hard towards her PhD. Cole is in his third year at NYU’s medical school. They have embraced the city with great passion! We have visited them many times over the last few years and have truly become enchanted with the brillance of New York City! Although there was so much havoc and turmoil rendered by mother nature on the east coast, Mandi and Cole have remained optimistic despite going without water and electricity for several days. Amid the devastation, they have been good to find small ways to do their part to help restore a city they have come to love so much!