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I saw this video on Facebook the other day and loved it. I hope you will too.

“Patriotism.

There’s a word thrown around a lot.

It inspires passionate debate, and it’s worn like a badge of honor.

And with good reason.

Because it means love and devotion for one’s country.

Love.

For a word designed to unite,

it can also be pretty divisive.

You see, there’s more to patriotism than flag sequined onesies,

and rodeos, and quadruple cheeseburgers.

Patriotism…

is love for a country,

not just pride in it.

But what really makes up this country of ours?

What is it we love?

It’s more than a huge rock full of animals like cougars and eagles, right?

It’s the people.

Do me a favor

close your eyes for a second.

I want to try something out.

Picture the average U.S. citizen.

Think about it.

How old are they?

What’s their hair like?

How much can they bench?

Got one?

OK.

So, the chances are the person you’re picturing right now looks a little different to the real average American.

There are 319 million U.S. citizens.

51% are female.

So, first off the average American is a woman.

Cool, huh?

Is that what you pictured?

54 million are Latino.

40 million are senior citizens.

27 million are disabled.

18 million are Asian

That’s more people in the U.S. than play football

and baseball

combined.

9 million are lesbian, gay, bi, or transgender.

More than the entire amount of people that live in the state of Virginia.

Around 10 million are redheaded.

5.1 million play Ultimate Frisbee.

And 3 and a half million are Muslim.

Triple the number of people currently serving in the United States military.

Almost half the country belongs to minority groups.

People who lesbian. African American.

And bi. And transgender. And Native American.

And proud of it.

We know that labels don’t devalue us,

they help define us

keeping us dialed in to our cultures,

and our beliefs, and who we are.

As Americans.

After all, what’s more American than

freedom to celebrate the things that make us

us?

I mean, it’s stitched into the stars and stripes of this country,

from the Constitution, to Gettysburg,

to our motto, “E Pluribus Unum”,

from many, one.

It’s even in our country’s name

the UNITED States.

This year,

patriotism shouldn’t just be about pride of country.

It should be about love.

Love beyond age,

disability, sexuality, race,

religion, and any other labels.

Because the second any of us judge people based on those labels,

we’re not really being patriotic, are we?

So let’s try this one more time.

Close your eyes,

picture the average Joe, or Joan,

Juan, or Jean-Luc.

The real people

who make America

America.

And this year,

whenever you feel the urge to don those star spangled shorts,

or set off fireworks the size of my biceps,

to show love for our country,

remember that to love America

is to love all Americans.

Because love has no labels.”

 

And remember, “Reach for Your Peak.”

Respectfully,

~D. Scott Lofthouse

 

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