Too often, in our country, the term patriotism is equated with a strong war mentality. That definition makes holidays such as July 4th and Memorial Day a difficult celebration for nonviolent, peace-loving, justice-seeking people. However, when patriotism embraces a spirit of freedom and acceptance, equality and care for all a country's people, the celebration can go on.
When we sing Miriam Therese Winter's lyrics for "America the Beautiful" on national holidays such as today, they do make our feelings of patriotism valid:
How beautiful, our spacious skies, our amber waves of grain;
our purple mountains as they rise above the fruitful plain.
America! America! God's gracious gifts abound,
and more and more we're grateful for life's bounty all around.
How beautiful, two continents, and islands in the sea
that dream of peace, non-violence, all people living free.
Americas! Americas! God grant that we may be
a hemisphere where people here all live in harmony.