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What Is A Patriot?

Are you patriotic? What does being patriotic mean to you?

He wore a black cap emblazoned in front with WWII Veteran on the front and a pin he received from a Life Flight to Washington DC. This is one of my fondest visual memories of my father, Warner Harold Knight. He was a patriot.

Google defines a patriot as “a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.” We automatically attach a patriot designation to our military veterans.

Many in the mob who stormed the Capitol to disrupt and overturn the results of an election believed they were doing their patriotic duty to defend their country against detractors. Because they believed so, did that make them patriots?

There was so much uproar when a young NFL quarterback knelt during the National Anthem. He was punished by his employer and his patriotism was questioned. Is how we behave during the singing of the National Anthem determine our patriot status?

The right to peacefully protest is upheld by Constitutional Amendment. Kneeling is peaceful. Attacking violently is unconstitutional.

Is criticizing a National policy or long standing tradition unpatriotic or more patriotic? Is pointing out weaknesses of our government or capitalism our patriotic duty or treason that should be censored?

Flying the flag, standing during the playing of the National Anthem are outward demonstrations of your patriotism. Peacefully protesting against injustice or inequality in America is a patriotic act as well. Violent protest is not. Encouraging such violence is not.

A true patriot should be willing to compromise, even sacrifice to improve the way of life or provide justice for another. A true American patriot seeks equality and justice for all. Any change, compromise or sacrifice should not result in an imbalance, though.

A true patriot listens respectfully to others concerns and should be able to state their own without fear of judgment and in a manner that is not judgmental.

A patriot admits that America is a work in progress and has never been perfect. Our history includes mistakes and failures and injustices and what makes us better is admitting to, learning from and correcting those imperfections. Patriotism does not try and censor our past even our scars. Censorship is indoctrination. Speaking truth is freedom.

American patriotism believes in and thrives on diversity of culture, ideology, ethnicity, race and nationality. We are free to worship, dress, celebrate and live as we please within legal, ethical and respectful parameters. The first to migrate to our continent did so to escape social injustice. Social justice is not Communist socialism.

A patriot knows that we have yet to achieve equality and equal opportunity for all. But a true patriot also knows that it can never be achieved by denying others the same right to pursue it as anyone else.

My father was proud to be an American. He wasn’t proud because he thought America is perfect but because we keep trying to be; we keep hoping to be. He wasn’t perfect but he had the heart of a patriot and wore the cap to declare it.

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Douglas Knight

I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at

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