Sept. 11 redefined patiotism

We all remember exactly what we were doing on Sept. 11, 2001, the very second we found out our country had changed forever. At first, the details were sketchy: two airplanes, World Trade Center; one airplane, Pentagon, one airplane, a field in Pennsylvania. We weren’t sure what was going on.

Confusion quickly turned to fear; fear quickly turned to anger. The anger — that is what has stayed with us. For two long years, Americans have been trying to recuperate from the gaping wound in our society brought about by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The biggest change in our society, believe it or not, is the definition of patriotism.

Patriotism used to be an ideal that no one could really define; it meant standing up at parades when a color guard carried the American flag past; it meant singing the National Anthem at baseball games; it meant saying the Pledge of Allegiance, whether or not we knew what the words really meant.

Now, patriotism has a completely different definition.

Patriotism today can be seen in the everyday things we do — getting the children off to school, going to work, sitting around the dinner table every night. Patriotism is now defined in the things we do to maintain a sense of normalcy.

Every time we hug a child, that’s patriotism.

Every time we help a neighbor, that’s patriotism.

Every time we call a friend to check on them because they have a loved one deployed in an international hotspot, that’s patriotism.

It’s the little things.

And, of course, because Bremerton is a city that owes its very existance to the Navy, every time we smile at a sailor or sailor’s wife, that, too, is patriotism.

In light of the second anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, the most important thing Americans can do is love each other and love their country.

That’s patriotism.

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