Acts of patriotism
Last Tuesday's terrorist attacks have prompted an outpouring of nationalist sentiment on a scale not seen since World War II. What is the most original or inspiring display of patriotism you've witnessed over the past week?
Certainly, Europeans who are beside Americans know that this is a trap to lure U.S. forces into an area where they will be killed. Bin Laden has done this to draw the U.S. into an area where he can draw out a long war like Vietnam. He has set the US up.
-Markus, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Our Defense stocks ROSE dramatically yesterday despite the Market plunge! Wall Street is sending the message, "We're gearing up for war." Go USA!!
-Karen, Boston area
We will probably never be aware of all the acts of bravery that took place, since the stories are buried with the memories of all our heroes. But, the one act that stands out in my mind deals not with the tragedy, but with the people that designed and built the World Trade Center. We have been told that these towers could take a hit from a Boeing 707 and they did. They still stood, long enough (I hope) for some people to get out safely. In addition, the buildings collapsed upon themselves, thereby saving countless more lives. I don't think any of us could ever deal with the carnage that might have taken place if both buildings had toppled upon impact.
After a week of shock, I am proud that SOME fellow citizens are asking "why?". How did it happen that bin Laden, who the US trained and supported so few years ago, could build such devoted support against us? How does our foreign policy in the Middle East cause people to hate us? How could we possibly fight a "war against evil" by bombing innocents in Afghanistan or Iraq? It is the finest tradition in our country that we use the extensive education that we have received to do our homework before continuing this cycle of violence. True patriots must support freedom and democracy everywhere.
I am so happy to see all of our children participating in the celebration of being an American! Even my two-year old daughter recognizes the American flag.
When at noon on Friday the Dutch flag was only at half staff. The whole country felt that it was act against the allied forces. What is most patriotic is a call to global alliance - together. America, particularly provincial Boston, needs to be aware that this is a global war.
-Jonathan, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Last Friday night, driving from Boston to the Cape, there were people on nearly every overpass with flags, banners, signs and candles. It took more than 3 hours to make the drive because everyone was stopping to wave and beep, but for once, I don't think anyone minded.
I have enjoyed seeing all of the American flags flying high in essentially every neighborhood. The real heroes are the people who are working so hard and long trying to clean up New York City.
Listening to the BBC last night, hearing an interview with a fire captain from Engine 15 in NYC. He said when the call came in, all the guys looked at each other, and someone said, that building is coming down, you know that it is. And in spite of that, they donned their helmets and boots, and got on that fire engine, and purposefully sped towards their deaths, knowing they would save others in the process. these guys knew they weren't coming back. 15 from that engine company died, leaving their legacy of heroism behind.
It has been inspirational to see the unity people are feeling and the kindness with which most people are treating one another. The candlelight vigils, the display of flags, the money, supplies, blood, and effort being sent to the people in NYC. That, however, is the easy part. We also need to show our patriotism by supporting the innocent, law abiding middle eastern or Muslim citizens (and residents) of this country. They are here in part because tolerance is one of the cornerstones on which this nation was founded. Be extra kind to them. Patronize their shops. Stop harassment if you should see it happening. Demand full prosecution of those who commit hate crimes. Perhaps we should also set up a fund for the victims of the recent unpatriotic anti-Arab/Islamic backlash. Many diverse people made us what we are. How we treat *all* of our citizens in this time of crisis will tell more about who we are as Americans than any display of flags ever could.
-S. Brezinsky, Belmont