It’s a curious development in this country that the concept of “patriotism” has become a hot-button issue. Now, calling someone a “patriot” is tantamount to saying they’re a racist, White nationalist.

In some circles, a patriotic display might be deemed a micro aggression.

Of course, it wasn’t always this way.

After the terror attacks of 9/11, there was an unprecedented demand for American flags.

According to an article in the New York Times, “Americans started buying flags hours after the attacks. Wal-Mart sold 116,000 flags on that Tuesday and 250,000 on Wednesday, compared with 6,400 and 10,000 on the same days a year earlier. By Friday, Sept. 14, Wal-Mart was running out, but still sold 135,000.”

It gave Americans comfort to display the flag, show their pride in the nation’s ability to persevere, and strengthened the bond with their fellow citizens. We were in this together. We were a nation bound together by our common citizenship, and for that moment, our love for our country.

Our Founding Fathers were America’s first patriots. They risked their very lives to create a nation that reflected their visions of freedom and equality.

Their vision was summarized in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The Founding Fathers acknowledged the right of each citizen to pursue personal fulfillment, and this right fueled America’s entrepreneurial system, creating the most prosperous nation on earth.

Our Founders came together to form a “more perfect union” — not THE perfect union. There is no perfection among humans, but the Founders devised a system of governance to allow us to work through our differences without coercion or blunt force.

Every nation — just like every human — has a history, with some parts we regret, and pray will never be allowed to happen again.

There was a time, regardless of political party, when Americans proudly proclaimed their “allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic, for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Now even the recitation of that pledge has come under fire.

It is astonishing that the concept of loving your country, the country of which you are a citizen, has become controversial in this day and age.

The first step to healing the ideological chasm in this nation is to stand together as American citizens, to honor and respect the ideals of liberty and freedom.

There is much to celebrate and cherish. As Americans. Patriotic Americans. It has nothing to do with how you vote, which team you support or what you look like.

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