March 17, 2009 // Posted by Brad Hoffmann //
This is my guest editiorial as it appeared in the Baytown Sun on Sunday, March 15, 2009.
It’s time to really get to work. America needs the involvement and participation of her citizens. We have a consuming obligation to strive towards greatness once again. Let us cease casting individual blame and begin collectively and collaboratively working on a solution. We all carry the load of our economic downturn. Our elected officials (current and previous) bear a responsibility for our condition as do the citizenry. These are tough days requiring extraordinary measures. Americans must be strong, united, purposeful, intentional, diligent, and focused.
Every resident of this democracy ought to be an outstanding patriot. True patriotism is exceptional stewardship. There is a great entrustment and stewardship with this country called America. We must fulfill our duty and our task well. America is still a land of opportunity, but it is not to be a land of selfish indulgement. Sacrifice built America and not injurious greed. Without a consuming patriotism, our efforts will lapse due to the burdensome task ahead. Each American must sacrifice; all Americans need to stand in the gap. In the words of John F. Kennedy on January 20, 1961, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” We need Americans who are more concerned about making the pie than just getting their self-claimed piece of the pie. What can I do for America? What can you do for America?
Patriotism is caught as much as it is taught. According to the National Anthem Project and the Harris Poll, did you know that nearly two in three Americans (61%) don’t know all of the words to the Star Spangled Banner? What patriot doesn’t know one’s national anthem? To grow a great nation, you grow great patriots. It begins in the home at an early age and is supportably nourished throughout a lifetime. I didn’t grow up in Texas, but in Florida. I can remember listening to or singing with a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner daily throughout my elementary, junior high, and high school career. I’m one of the 39% because I learned it in school. Every school age child should have the opportunity to begin their day with a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner in a Texas classroom; it is our National Anthem. The Texas Education Code mandates the pledges to the American and Texas flags and for a moment of silence, but not for a presentation of the National Anthem. How can you raise patriots if you ignore America’s National Anthem? I love this country and want my children to capture that same love for country. I want for them to have the same privilege I had of growing up and singing the National Anthem at the beginning of every school day. It’s the start of patriotism.