Letters to the Editor

Passive patriotism in Federal Way | Letters

I was raised with passive patriotism. Stand up for the national anthem. Say the Pledge of Allegiance every day in school. Barbecue on the Fourth of July. Put a troop-support bumper sticker on your car, and be grateful for heroes, at least from a distance.

But two years ago, that passive patriotism changed.

I started by sending one care package to a deployed service member, sharing handmade cards that I had no use for. It started with one box, then two once friends joined in. It snowballed until I ended up starting a whole organization — http://cardsforheroes.org — sending blank handmade cards for deployed heroes to write home on. About 150,000 cards and 600-plus care packages later, my perspective on patriotism has wholeheartedly changed. I've gotten to know many of our deployed soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, and gained incredible respect for the work they do, the sacrifices they've made, and the hearts with which they serve.

I've also lost my tolerance for those who don't show respect for the nation they live in. We needn't be in agreement with everything our leaders say or do, but appreciate our country, her values and all of those who serve her — in military service, government, nonprofit and private sector. I have a real heart for our deployed heroes, and would like to see more Americans truly step up in support.

Write a letter to a lonely soldier far from home, send a care package, show them tangibly that they matter! I'm not sure how we got to the place in our nation where a bumper sticker was enough to call ourselves "supportive" of our armed forces. How can we justify only singing along with the national anthem at a baseball game, but not passing on values of respect to the next generation?

I was faced with our lack of patriotism a few days ago when my flag and its pole were stolen from the front of my home on 13th Place SW. That flag means so much to me, and yet somehow, there's someone who thought that removing it was either funny or, sadly, justifiable. Was it a dare? A statement? A prank? I'm hoping it was a young person who's not yet been taught to respect the flag and the values it represents; perhaps it was someone who felt more patriotic than my household so they "needed" it more than I.

I do hope whoever took it is flying it with the same pride as I did.

Sandy Allnock, Federal Way

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