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The word patriotism is a word that unfortunately is seldom used in this modern day and age. This word derived more two centuries ago in the early 1700's when America was in it's earliest stages. The Merriam/Webster Dictionary describes the word patriotism as a noun, and it meaning is stated in the dictionary as; love for or devotion to one's country.

A historical act of true patriotism was when Patrick Henry proclaimed his timeless cry "Give me liberty or give me death." Henry was a true American patriot who faced losing freedom in his beloved America, while it fought against England's rule in this new land. America was the hope for freedom and without reservation or fear Patrick Henry would rather be put to death then not live free in his beloved America.

Throughout the centuries patriotism remained strong in America as it's people united with their commander in chief through America's many trials and wars such as, the Civil War, the Spanish American war, World Wars I and World War II. During those difficult times in America all Americans banded together and stood strong in unity and in their love for their country. In those tough times and the many wars that were fought, many of our patriotic songs were written and sung with ones right hand over their heart. Some age old patriotic songs that were sung often by Americans for generations are; My Country 'Tis of Thee, You're A Grand Old Flag, God Bless America, and America the Beautiful. These heartfelt songs portray and tell a story of what patriotism is all about, and the words to the songs proclaim a deep love and devotion for America.

Patriotic songs were once popular and were often sung in schools, churches, and sporting events, they were a part of everyday life in America, until the mid 1960's when they slowly and very gradually started to disappear from our society. It is on rare occasion in the year 2010 that one will hear or sing any of the patriotic songs listed above.

Proclaiming love for America, despite what the world says is patriotism. Standing with our troops in times of war, is patriotism. Looking out for the greater good of this nation and not ones own personal gain is patriotism. Being a unified nation and standing strong in unity against anything or anyone who threatens the freedoms that Americans have held dear since the birth of this great nation, is patriotism.

Somewhere over the last few decades patriotism seems to have disappeared from everyday lives of Americans. No longer do we start our day with the Pledge of Allegiance, or with patriotic songs. No longer do American start their day in their schools or at their jobs with prayer to bless this great nation. It seems as though Americans do not remember that it was with patriotism that our forefathers, our grandfathers, our fathers, our brothers and our sons have fought for and given their lives for freedoms sake, to keep America free.

We have come to a time and place in history where it is no longer politically correct to be patriotic and to support our brave, patriotic armed forces who are still fighting for our freedom today. Many people in this great land are against our military being involved in fighting wars for our freedom. Those who are against our involvement in wars that keep us safe and free, are basically against patriotism and because of the lack of patriotism and unity in America today, our freedoms are sadly, quickly, slipping away from us right before our very eyes.

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Henrik Plumbing

A few years hence, the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War will provide an auspicious occasion during which we can reflect on what the historical event should mean to us.

I'm certain that the enthusiasm for this Civil War observance won't match the level of unabashed infatuation experienced by many Americans during the Centennial; for better or worse, we aren't the same country that we were in the early 1960s. Nevertheless, it's important that we understand how the war forever changed and re-shaped our great nation. For real insight into this transformation, we must grasp mid-nineteenth century perspectives as we contemplate the participation of unionists, secessionists, African Americans, and women during the conflict.

This broad spectrum of human experience was confronted when I researched, then wrote Two Brothers: One North, One South. It's the story of Clifton and William Prentiss of Baltimore, their fellow soldiers, civilian friends, and acquaintances. Closely based on real people and actual events, the novel follows these characters from early 1861, before the war began, until mid-1865, after its conclusion. Walt Whitman encountered the Prentiss brothers at Armory Square Hospital and later eulogized them in Memoranda During The War, thereby commemorating the sacrifice that each made for his cause. Whitman became the navigator of their story in Two Brothers.

While Whitman's fervent support for the Union and his abhorrence of slavery never wavered, his devotion to visiting wounded soldiers of both the North and South furnished him with a unique perception of patriotism and courage. His intuition is revealed in this passage of The Wound Dresser:

"(Arous'd and angry, I'd thought to beat the alarum, and urge relentless war,

But soon my fingers fail'd me, my face droop'd and I resigned myself,

To sit by the wounded and soothe them, or silently watch the dead;)

Years hence of these scenes, of these furious passions, these chances,

Of unsurpass'd heroes, (was one side so brave? the other was equally brave;)"

As we approach the sesquicentennial of a war in which 600,000 American deaths were suffered, the poet's words should be remembered and embraced. Walt Whitman was right. Many of the participants were unsurpassed heroes: Federal and Confederate soldiers; women on the home front whose role in society was forever changed; and African American soldiers who fought for the Union to achieve dignity and freedom.

They were, one and all, American patriots.

In my view, we have much to celebrate during the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

David H. Jones

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I have been a fan of Chuck Norris for years. His early movies helped motivate me to study martial arts, and now as an instructor myself, I respect and admire the accomplishments he has achieved, and especially like how he has helped so many kids through his youth programs. It was an honor to meet Chuck Norris, his wife, and the late Howard Jackson a few years ago when he was signing copies of "Against All Odds: My Story."

I also like that Chuck Norris has firm convictions and beliefs and is not afraid to stand by them. His entry into political commentary and endorsing causes and candidates illustrates that he is not content with sitting on the sidelines, but is more than willing to stand up and be counted and voice an opinion. Some people criticize celebrities for endorsing causes or candidates, but I don't. I respect people who stand up for what they believe in and take ACTION. Regardless if you agree or disagree with Norris, you have to respect the fact that he is taking action regarding problems he sees in America.

I've been looking forward to "Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America" ever since I learned it was coming out. Being a black belt and a patriot, I love the title. But more importantly, I respect Chuck Norris and his views, not just because he is a fellow martial artist, but because he is sincere, honest, and makes a lot of sense. I've been looking forward to his insights and suggestions on how to rebuild our country and ensure the pursuit of the American Dream is available for everyone. The book was released yesterday and I left work and immediately stopped at the bookstore to pick up a copy.

I was not disappointed!

I spent the night reading "Black Belt Patriotism" and was quite impressed. It was not what I thought it was going to be. It had much more research than I expected. In fact, there are over thirty pages of notes, containing more than three hundred references from the text. Norris did his homework!

Before I go any further, I'll address the elephant in the room. (pun intended) It is no secret that Norris is a conservative. On the cover of the book, he is described as a martial arts master, actor, and political activist. This book falls in the political activist realm and the solutions that Norris provides are rooted in his Christian faith and belief in the Constitution and those Constitution Framers and founders of our great nation. If you share his conservative views, you are going to love this book. You might even stand up and yell, "You tell 'em Chuck!" If you are liberal, you are going to disagree with many of the solutions Norris provides, and you might even be insulted because he pulls no punches with his beliefs. If you are an independent, or fall somewhere in the middle, you will probably learn a few things and ponder on others. Regardless of which camp you fall into, I believe the book has value in pointing out the problems that Norris does. If you don't agree with his conservative solutions, so be it. Figure out solutions that you back. But think about the problems and work toward solutions!

The first line of this book is, "I love America: always have, always will." It is clear from reading this text that Norris really does love America and the principles it was founded upon. He has researched the history of our country and government much more than the average person, and goes so far as to include in the Appendices; The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States, and The Ten Commandments. If you study the more than three hundred references I mentioned earlier, without a doubt you will have a better understanding of our country and government, and a better understanding of where Norris is coming from. I applaud his inclusion of such material, rather than him just saying, "this is what I believe, so there." He gives us the why behind what he wrote. That still does not mean you have to agree with him, but it will most certainly education you and open your eyes to the conservative perspective in a different light.

The first chapter then goes on to lay out eight problems with America that Norris believes something must be done about. Then, it the next eight chapters he goes into solutions to these problems. These problems he addresses are: 1. Norris believes we have forgotten our roots and have drifted from the principles and beliefs that our country was founded upon. 2. America's debt. The dept by Both by the government and individuals is a major problem and as Norris points out, we must not spend what we don't have. 3. America has failed to enforce our nation's borders. Norris shares some of the Founder's recommendations regarding immigration as well as some of his own recommendations for the illegal immigration problem. 4. Norris believes the fourth major problem is that America has lost its moral compass. This is probably one of the most "religious" chapters because Chuck's moral compass is guided by his Faith. 5. The next problem is that we have devalued human life. Again, this chapter is influenced by his faith, but we must also remember that in his early movies, life was not valued that much with the high body counts of the 80s action genre. But then Norris has changed since then and is the first to admit it. What I like is that he does not try to change or hide his past, and he openly discusses that he made mistakes in his past and is ashamed of some of what he has done. 6. The sixth problem Norris takes on is what he claims is the failing of our children. Children bear the brunt of cultural decay and Norris sets out to help protect our children from predators as well as provide for them and teach them values. 7. The next problem he sees is the dissolution of the family. This chapter again focuses on a Christian model for family, and Norris also makes a case for homeschooling. 8. The eighth problem of America's is apathy: physical, mental, and spiritual. In this chapter Norris takes on the declining health and obesity of Americans and calls for healthy living including nutritious eating and exercise. He also very briefly adds that he believes people need to feed themselves spiritually as well.

As I stated, if you share conservative beliefs with Norris, you will love his solutions, if you don't, you won't find this book nearly as enjoyable. However, regardless of your beliefs, you should find this book educational.

The book is more than educational, it is also motivational. The love for our country that Norris holds is clear, and he is optimistic that Americans can solve the problems the country is facing. This is not a doom and gloom look at troubles. This is a call for action to make our country better, to make our country stronger. Norris wants all Americans to get involved. He closes the book by saying, "I've committed the rest of my life to assure that the America of yesteryear becomes the America of tomorrow. My wish is that you will now join me, and encourage others to do the same."

I highly recommend this book to all Americans. You don't have to be a Chuck Norris fan like I am to gain some valuable insights from Chuck's research into our country's history and government. You don't have to share conservative values and ideals to still learn and be motivated by his optimistic view that we can continue to make America great despite the problems we are facing as a country. You don't even have to agree that these eight problems are the primary problems of the country, even though we must admit they are issues that need to be addressed.

Chuck Norris did an impressive job with this book. It was much more researched than I thought it would be, and it has encouraged me to do even more regarding getting involved. Read this book and become a Black Belt Patriot!

Alain Burrese, J.D. is a mediator/attorney with Bennett Law Office P.C. and an author/speaker through his own company Burrese Enterprises Inc. He writes and speaks about a variety of topics focusing on the business areas of negotiation and success principles as well as self-defense and safety topics. He is the author of Hard-Won Wisdom From the School of Hard Knocks, several instructional dvds, and numerous articles. You can find out more about Alain Burrese at his websites or

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When asked to name the wars that the United States has been involved in since the Civil War there is one most people overlook. It is a forgotten war for America, yet one with valuable significance. From April to August 1898 we were engaged in the Spanish-American War.

The War was mainly fought over the liberation of Cuba. The most notable events history has recorded are the mysterious sinking of the USS Maine, and the tales of Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders. The Spanish-American War marked the first real entry of the United States into world affairs, and in contrast marked the end of the Spanish empire in Asia, the Pacific and the Americas; a decline in Spanish Imperial power began early in the 19th century as a result of Napoleon's invasion.

In the outcome of the Spanish-American War the United States became the protectorate over the territories of Guam, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Cuba.

The most valuable significance of the Spanish-American War was that this was the first time since the end of the Civil War in 1865, that Northerners and Southerners, whites and blacks had cause to fight against a common enemy of the United States, this helped to ease the scars left from the Civil War. This was an important development since many soldiers in this war were the children of Civil War veterans on both sides and from their service many friendships were formed between soldiers former only know as Union or Confederates, now they all became United States soldiers.

Also, as part of the healing process, across the Nation there grew a heightened level of patriotism. This can truly be found in an entry to a Patriotic Poetry Contest in 1917, submitted by William Tyler Page. The entry hit such a cord with people that on April 3, 1918, the U.S. House of Representative officially made it the American Creed. It reads:

I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.

It appears that as American conflicts fade in and out of history, so does American Patriotism; brought to the forefront when convenient then put back on the shelf for another time. Too, the American Creed has followed this same path. Unknown to most Americans its direct references to our citizenship and powerful meaning are timeless. It deserves a more prominent place in our society.

Patrick Tuttle lives in Joplin, Missouri. He is a writer and speaker on the historical interest of etiquette, protocol and social decorum; from the times prior to World War II. Writing in a style that mixes nostalgia with interesting social tales, Patrick gives his readers, "Something Worth Thinking About."

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