Next week, we will celebrate our nation’s independence on July 4. The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays as it seems to bring the best out in all of us. Most everyone I know loves wearing red, white and blue, hanging their porch flags, and celebrating over the barbecue with family and friends. As a candidate for City Council, it makes me think about what “patriotism” means and whether there can be universal agreement on its definition.
For me, patriotism can be broken down into four parts. First and foremost, patriotism is the LOVING our country — THE United States of America.
America may not be perfect, but we are darn close. Bill Clinton once said, “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.”
I agree with this. America has so much to cherish and be thankful for, that the good far outweighs the bad, and the bad can always be made better.
Patriotism also means remembering the sacrifice made for the freedoms we enjoy today. Not many people are willing to put themselves at death’s door to protect others or fight tyranny. We owe it to the brave Americans who paid the ultimate price to remember them daily, not just on the Fourth of July or Memorial Day. President Ronald Reagan warned Americans about our freedom by reminding us all, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
Patriotism also means striving for improvement and serving for the greater good. That’s right, patriotism to me is a verb. It’s an action item, not merely a sentiment expressed in parades or holiday displays. Patriotism is what each of us does to help leave our community better than we found it. It is teachers shaping young minds; it is law enforcement keeping us all safe; it is volunteers helping our seniors and parents raising productive members of society who will grow into valuable members of the community.
These are the four pillars of patriotism in my mind, and they are something everyone can get behind. So, as we head into the Fourth of July, celebrate for sure. Enjoy those burgers and fireworks. But also, take some action that makes Santa Clarita better than it was yesterday.