A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Lauren and Rob Hudson: Positive message for America’s youth; exceptionalism through patriotism

Columns for families based on the book “It Can Be Done” @studentsleadusa

Patriotism means being proud of our country, grateful, and willing to stand up for it. By looking at America’s positives, we find many good reasons to be patriotic. To begin with, we built the world’s largest economy and achieved a high standard of living.

As we achieved, we became the world’s most generous nation with our charities. With all these blessings, we do not answer to a ruler. Our government leaders answer to us, the citizens. We enjoy greater freedoms than most countries and all our citizens can pursue happiness.

We should be proud of and grateful for our military. America’s sacrifices in World War II helped save the world. We could not have accomplished as much if we had wars being fought in much of our country. The world’s bullies wouldn’t pick fights with a military stronger than theirs.

We have been in many wars throughout our nation’s history and many people have disagreed about them, but we often fought to defend our fair interests or the interests of other people. More than a million American servicemen and women lost their lives for our country, with about 1.5 million more wounded in action. A big part of patriotism includes being grateful for their sacrifice.

America didn’t succeed because of a happy accident. People thought, worked, fought, struggled, and overcame to get us where we are today. We pursued achievement which led to prosperity. We decided to work and become educated. We preserved choices of family, worship, volunteering and charity.

Even with America’s positives, patriotism can be tricky because it involves seeing the entire nation instead of focusing only on its problems. We have had horrible chapters in our history, but how we’ve improved helps make the case for exceptionalism. Although we have made big mistakes, we also have a long list of efforts to defeat injustice.

We had slavery, but we fought the Civil War to end it. We had prisoner camps for innocent Japanese Americans during World War II, but Asian-Americans have since thrived in this country. We had segregation based on race, but we passed laws granting equal rights. Women didn’t have the right to vote, but in 1920 that changed. We can choose to celebrate progress while continuing to fight for justice.

Many exceptional acts happen quietly in America. A neighbor flies an American flag or helps a sick neighbor. A soldier trains to defend us. A loving mother teaches her children to be kind. We have been more than successful enough to validate gratitude and patriotism. Many exceptional people choose to be patriotic and positive about our future. Nothing is stopping us from making the same choice.

Join us next week when we further explore the common ground of focusing on achievement rather than envy. Frost Brown Todd LLC Member Rob Hudson is a Past Chair of the Northern Kentucky Chamber and a recipient of its Frontiersman Award. 2018 Independent Author of the Year Lauren Hudson is a Singletary Scholar at the University of Kentucky.

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