There are many ways to communicate, and our word choice is just one way. We also use non-verbal communication, such as body language, and a good old-fashioned eye roll says more than most of our sentences possibly could. Symbolism is another effective communication tool, which brings me to today’s topic–patriotism.
Personally, I find it very telling that our symbol for patriotism is almost invariably a military symbol. Because of our history–having to literally fight for our freedom and having myriad wars in the couple of centuries that have followed–we often associate freedom with the military. In fact, any time we’re involved in any type of military action, most of us reflexively respond with “the soldiers are fighting for our freedom” even if the conflict has nothing to do with our personal or political freedom.
That’s why nearly every time The Star Spangled Banner or God Bless America is sung, at either a state funeral or the ball game or any other function, it’s typically represented by war planes flying overhead or cannons blasting or the presence of military personnel.
Patriotism represents all of the great things about our country, including freedom of speech, being able to assemble peacefully in protest, and having religious freedom.
It might be nice to see some of those represented as symbols of patriotism on occasion.
Paul’s book–Literally, the Best Language Book Ever