I think the older I get, the more patriotic I feel. I'm not talking about thinking America is God's gift to the world or anything, but rather, truly appreciating the country that I live in and the freedoms I enjoy. I also have more of an awareness of being grateful to those who fight to defend our country. When we were at the Naval Air Station Wildwood museum with our family last month, I was reminded, while looking at the various aircraft actually flown during the different wars, of the many stories my grandfather used to tell of his 'service' days, and also about the fact that my dad also served during the Vietnam war. I've never thought of myself as coming from a 'military family' because none of my family had military careers, but I do feel connected to the country in a more real way knowing that my father and grandfathers all served in the various military branches, all during times of war.
I find this also plays into my thoughts about John McCain. I have to say, I truly believe the man loves his country and would do everything within his power to serve the country to the best of his ability after knowing McCain's history as a POW. I have no problem believing he will put his country first before his own personal comfort or desires - because he has done so already under the worst of circumstances. In my mind he has earned a certain kind of respect that isn't gained through good campaigning. Of course, I know he's not perfect. I've been disappointed with much of his campaign tactics, and I don't agree with all his viewpoints. But I don't doubt his courage, loyalty and love for America.
This pondering of mine that day at the air station brought up an interesting question that I posed to Todd. Since he comes from a pacifist background (Mennonite) and I didn't, I wondered how we would address the issues of war with our boys, and how he would feel if they ever decided they wanted to serve in the military. I would say I definitely do not hold a pacifist viewpoint, but I absolutely respect those who do, and understand where they are coming from in their reasoning for their position. I definitely lean more toward feeling that God's heart is for mercy and justice, and sometimes that comes through the strong defending the weak. I've thought more in-depth about the topic, but won't bore you with all my beliefs on the ins-and-outs of it all.
In any case, it was the first time that it occured to me that Todd & I might differ on what mindsets and viewpoints we would be teaching our children - the boys in particular. (Though, in many ways, the principles and questions that the whole topic raises does affect girls as well). I guess between my growing interest in politics, the current election issues being talked about (incessantly!), our visit to the museum, and discussing various wars in our history curriculum, it's stirred up lots of questions for me. (As for Todd & I, personally, the discussion is still open). It's not like it's a matter that you can basically just ignore til they are ready to register the day they turn 18. I'm finding myself daily explaining things like the events of 9/11; who is right/wrong in various wars; what happened to John McCain; etc, etc. All things that I've never run into with Kate...apparently boys have a fascination with this kind of stuff in their genes at birth!
So how about you? Do you consider yourself patriotic? Why or why not? Any advise on explaining matters like I mentioned above to children?