If one is interested in becoming a patriot, it may very well begin with the asking of some personal questions, such as:
o What is patriotism?
o What do I feel for my country?
o What can I do to contribute?
Indeed, becoming a patriot is a very personal decision. One cannot be told to feel patriotic and as a county that embraces individual freedoms, patriotism is not imposed on any of our citizens. However, if you are contemplating becoming a patriot, surely it's because you feel a desire to support your country. If so, then there are a number of ways to take that step. Perhaps the first step though, is defining what a "patriot" is.
In short, a "patriot" is a "person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion." (Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2006) Thus, to become a patriot means that a person adopts this stance in his/her everyday life. Whether or not this is conveyed via private or public display is another question the individual will need to ultimately ask and answer.
Personal patriotism is voluntary. A person either does or does not feel like a patriot and if the former, then there are certain patriotic values that this person is likely to adhere to. These include:
o Respect for the flag
o Support for our troops
o Volunteering in one's community
o Giving back to one's community
o Knowing the Pledge of Allegiance
o Knowing the "Star Spangled Banner"
o Exercising one's right to vote
o Buying American
These are a few ways that a person can become more patriotic and by doing so, become a patriot. The official days of observance that the United States has each year present the perfect opportunities to publicly display one's patriotism. For instance, on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, you'll find tiny flags planted in most every lawn. On Flag Day, many Americans display Old Glory in all her glory.
However, becoming a patriot is more of a full-time commitment. It's not something that an individual feels "on occasion," but something that is carried around daily, always. As noted above, a patriot feels respect for the flag every day of the year; supports the troops 100%; and finds ways to give back to the community when possible. Thus, even if one doesn't publicly display their patriotic spirit 24-7, they nonetheless feel it.
Still, other patriots feel like wearing their patriotism like a badge (with say a flag pin), and by doing so, help spread the sentiment to others. This is commonly seen during election years or when a country is going through tougher times. When a country is down, many citizens feel it's their duty to try and lift her up.
Indeed, if one is determined to become a patriot, he/she may also feel like taking on the task of getting the patriotic word out to others. Ways to do so include, as said, wearing patriotic symbols, such as the flag, American eagle, or colors red, white, and blue. Ideas include:
o Flag pins
o Car flags
To summarize, becoming a patriot is a commitment that each of us considers over time. It's personal and it's voluntary and thus, it's reflective of what the United States is built on: individual freedom and choice.