You are not a patriot because you wave the flag, shout political slogans, worship the Second Amendment or cheer at a Fourth of July parade.
You are a patriot if you care as much about your neighbor’s welfare as you do your own.
You are a patriot if you work on behalf of the poor, the sick, the homeless, the dispossessed and those who have felt the sting of bigotry because of race, religion or sexual orientation.
You are a patriot if your concern is for the generations who will inherit and lead this country — if you care about the planet they will live on, their education and their health.
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When you believe a new American has the same right as you to achieve his dreams, when you open your arms to the soldier returning in pain from the battlefield, when you work to rebuild the lives of those who have lost everything to a natural disaster, when you are willing to make sacrifices on behalf of your fellow countrymen, then you may proudly call yourself a patriot.
Tom Bauer, Morro Bay