Jodi Riddleberger Activist
• To me the idea behind patriotism is the love of and passion for your country. And just like any great idea, if there’s no activity involved, the idea remains an idea.
• Think about our military men and women — they’re the perfect example of action behind the idea. They’ve chosen to be the most patriotic among us; they chose to put the country in front of their own lives. The work and the sacrifice they do on a daily basis is completely inspired by their patriotism and dedication. They’re taking ownership of the idea.
• Each individual citizen has the opportunity to be a great patriot themselves. For myself I feel like I need to put my country’s good before my own. I have the responsibility to speak out when unethical things happen in our government. I have a moral obligation to take action in the political arena to defend liberty, truth, the Constitution.
• I guess in my life patriotism is engaging in the process of supporting the greatness of America through daily activities in our community.
Jo Maeder Author of When I Married My Mother
• I think it means so many choices and so much technology that it can be overwhelming and frustrating, but I am privileged to have these problems.
• Every day its choice choice choice choice, from, ‘Do I want to friend this person?’ ‘Do I want to send this post out to everybody?’ ‘Do I want water that’s flavored or unflavored?’ ‘Do I want yogurt that has fat nor non-fat ?’ It just goes on and on and on. It used to be when you went out to buy cottage cheese you had two choices: small and big. Now it’s, ‘What size curd do you want?’ • We’re living in this world of such bounty. We shouldn’t complain about these things it’s a privilege. We’re a country of bounty in so many unbelievable ways. Yeah, you can get upset with what doesn’ tcome your way or technological glitches that make you want to scream, but were still a land of great opportunity and blessings.
Kevin Smith Filmmaker with Occupy Greensboro
• I took a painting class in New Zealand and there was this guy that loved asking me questions about America… like is it true when you move into a new house that your neighbor will bring you apple pie… or if I knew certain celebrities. Whenever I am abroad I realize how close American pop culture actually is to my identity even though it’s not at the forefront of my mind, like, “Why do I miss baseball?” • I think part of being an American is to claim not to be American in whatever way you can, to say I am Irish or Scottish or Hungarian. I guess if someone asked me I would say I’m Scottish. I honestly don’t think about this stuff very much.
• I grew up near the Tennessee border [in North Carolina] so my friends and I would always find creative ways to use illegal fireworks.
That’s the only consistent tradition I’ve ever really had. I’m going to check out the Grimsley fireworks.
• To be an American is to be a paradox where we have so many resources yet it’s never enough, it seems. We strive to be individuals yet we also strive to fit in.
Officer Matthew O’Reilly Winston-Salem police officer
• I come from a military family. Both my parents were in the military, and there’s always been for me a sense of pride. My parents have always instilled that. They were never the type to just bark out orders or anything like that, but they instilled a sense of pride in our country as far as what we were able to do, the freedoms that we have. Although I’m not in the military — I’m only in civilian law enforcement — for me, I see law enforcement as a way to give back to my community for others, and to be part of something more than myself.
• As far as what it means to me to be an American and have these freedoms I’ve been lucky enough to travel abroad several times and to see the differences between what we’re allowed to do and what other people are allowed to do in other countries. It’s tough not to come back to our country and believe that we don’t live in the best country on the planet. The freedoms that we have that people have fought for, that people have died for over the years, it’s been a great thing to give back in some way. Even at a local level, to uphold our freedoms, the rights that we have, to try and make sure that everyone is able to enjoy their lives and to enjoy them in a manner that they see fit without any type of interruption or encroachment by others.
• It gradually dawned on me that there is something else out there. There’s always people out there besides yourself that could use some help — a helping hand, some type of assistance. There’s always folks that need help in some way, shape or form. For me, I guess if there is one moment that might define that for me, I understand like a lot of people back on Sept. 11 — I was actually in college at the time. I was old enough to understand that at that point the rules had changed. In a lot of ways the world as we knew it was not going to be the same. I think a lot of people at that time felt somewhat of a sense of helplessness, as if something needs to be done or there’s a greater effort that need contributing to in some way, shape or form. This is my way of doing that — by going into law enforcement and helping in the public safety realm, something that I could contribute without having to go abroad or something like that.