When I was young, I had a certain fascination with a country. I romanticized this country, steeped myself in its history and colonial prowess, rooted for its beautifully festooned armies in old war films, and drew depictions of its flag… no, not the Stars and Stripes, but the Union Jack.
Yes, I suppose I was proud of my English ancestry, but I was missing what was right in front of me—my American self and country. I was living all along in a country of whose magnificence I wasn’t wholly aware. I had misallocated one country’s values and characteristics for another. As I grew older, I realized that justified might, earned prosperity, value of life, respect for others, selfless hard work, undaunted perseverance, and grit and ruggedness, are all bred right here in America.
I love America because it is still the greatest country civilization has ever witnessed. Yet, the moment someone from another part of the world steps here, we welcome them and learn from them, knowing in return that what is shown to them of our culture and values will speak loudly, without words or compulsion.
America is more than opportunity, liberty, or achievement, as sacred as those are. America is determination, and we need that more than ever right now. RESOLVE. Only this will ensure that our country escapes victoriously from the manmade evil that has begun to drown the hearts and souls of good people everywhere.
America will win because of those who understand the innate goodness and prevalent kindness of this country. We will win against the murky and venomous factions that have struck from within. In that vein, I love America because I am reminded of its greatness by those who hate it. We are attacked from within by those who wish to erase our cherishing of life, our respect for the law, our awareness and conservation of our past (good and bad), and our unabashed support of our flag and its defenders. When they say what they hate, I am reaffirmed in what I cherish.
I love America for all of the timeless Americans our country has produced, and for all of the timeless non-Americans our country celebrates. In America, I can walk into a jazz club in New Orleans and hear rousing music of an American, such as John Coltrane, being played. Or, I can walk into a symphony hall in Atlanta and hear the majestic music of a German-born composer, such as G.F. Handel.
In America, I can watch an American game and sit in a ballpark, listening to the crack of the bat, or, I can walk into a stadium and watch a Canadian game and listen to the sounds of skates thrashing against smooth ice. In America, a fan can marvel at athletes of any flag, whether it be Roberto Clemente or Patrick Kane. Or, I can peruse the walls of an art museum in Chicago and admire the works of an American, such as Georgia O’Keefe, or a Frenchman, like Monet. In America, I have the ability to discover meaning in others’ masterpieces.
Even when I was imagining being a British soldier of long ago, I still was grateful to be an American. But I figured it out, and I learned. From serving in the U.S. Army in the airborne infantry immediately out of high school, to now serving my city as a patrol lieutenant in my police department, I am happy to say I now love my country. I have seen what is missing in other countries. I have seen decent, honest people here, just trying to make it work. I love America because she is worth loving, and oh what joy and thankfulness that can bring. It is truly right to love America, and in return, she remains patient with us.
John Patston, 40, of Valparaiso, Indiana, is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and a current police officer of 13 years, who enjoys listening to Chet Baker and reading books on Gen. Patton and Churchill.
This essay was entered in the Epoch Times “Why I Love America” contest.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.