Stop apologizing for being patriotic. Just stop it. You have nothing to apologize for. When did this happen, this national shaming? Who says we must lay down our own patriotism in order to to truly embrace our refugees or immigrants?
Recently, students at an Iowa high school wore red white and blue attire to a sports event at a rival school. This patriotic display is a customary practice for those students; one they enjoy, and share, and look forward to. Yet because the rival school has some players from refugee families, the red, white, and blue colors were deemed offensive.Rather than stand tall, student leaders from the “offending” school apologized to the offended one.
This country embraced the refugees – and their families- in that town. Clearly the community has as well. Doesn’t that lend itself to a feeling of gratitude? Shouldn’t those families also embrace America? Were they told they cannot wear their country’s colors, or practice their traditions, or play in the game? Did anyone threaten them or make them feel unsafe? Not according to news reports. So why should the pendulum swing with such a vengeance in the opposite direction? Why should any students or any families be denied the right to wear patriotic colors- or any colors they choose? Why is a display of pride for the nation that we all live in- even the refugees- seen as offensive rather than welcome? Is it simply because they are American, and have lived there for their whole lives?
Freedom of speech is a national right, not a select one. If those of us who weep when we see people stomping on and burning flags are compelled to allow it, do we not also have the right to fly a flag, or wear its colors? Must we lay down our own sense of patriotism and national pride, bury our own traditions and rituals, in order to avoid being branded as racist, or prejudice, or unwelcoming to those who most need our welcome? Absolutely not! And it’s time we defend our own rights. It’s time to make it clear that being welcomed into this country means you are being welcomed into a nation of people who are proud to be American, and who will share this pride with you just as we share our resources, and our homes, with you.
We will not ask you to forget your national pride, to be ashamed of where you come from, but we do demand that you respect where you are, and help this nation grow as one rather than divide for you.
The wave of ridiculous over-coddling is tearing this nation apart, limb from limb. The fact that this school apologized for its students’ patriotism sends a dangerous message. Those students were made to feel ashamed of their pride. They were taught that their patriotism and their freedom of speech is no longer acceptable. They were taught that they are no longer allowed to display their patriotism or even encourage others to join in, because other countries’ traditions and beliefs are more important.
Perhaps the refugees were not even the ones who took offense at this. Perhaps it was a handful of people still bearing a political grudge, who used these families to advance their own agenda. Who knows. But the result is the same – a line has been drawn and a rift created where none existed before. And this is happening across the country, as story after story pops up in the news. When will it stop?
My husband died in Iraq, supporting a mission he believed in for the country that he loved. My children have given up their childhoods and will never know what it is like to have their dad in their lives – all for the sake of defending what this country stands for, and the people in it. Apologizing for patriotism tells my children their father’s death means nothing. That the very belief he died for is shameful, and now irrelevant.
Let’s all grow up and stop letting the tantrums of overindulged malcontents ring louder than common sense. Let’s bring graciousness back, and encourage our guests and new citizens to respect the country they have chosen to live in as we will respect them. And let’s applaud our youth for their patriotism, rather than shame them.
Barb Allen Is A Gold Star Wife, Author & National Speaker. She's a professional veterans advocate who understands the personal and factual struggles of turning adversity into advantage. But this lesson did not come easily and this upper hand must be diligently maintained. Now, Barbara brings her life lessons to her audiences in keynote speeches and custom programs. She relates to her audiences’ lives and challenges, and teaches them how to become gladiators in their own life’s arena.