A patriot is a person who loves their country. Patriots may feel a sense of duty and loyalty to their fellow countrymen, a willingness to defend it against its enemies, and a desire to see it succeed.
Most countries aim to instill patriotism in their youths from a young age, often through education and exposure to patriotic symbols and events.
While patriotism is not necessarily the same as nationalism, the two concepts are often closely intertwined (see: patriotism vs nationalism). However, patriotism is generally seen as a positive for based on love for country, while nationalism is seen as an unhealthy belief in your own country’s superiority.
1. Voting in Elections
Patriots believe it’s their duty to vote in elections. This is based on their sincere desire for their country to succeed. When they vote, they get the chance to contribute toward their vision for what their country will be like in the future. By contrast, a person who doesn’t particularly care or think about their nation is likely to stay home on election day because they don’t see their country and its success as a central part of their identity.
2. Supporting your National Sports Teams
Patriots want their country to succeed, so they will generally support their nation’s sports teams in international sporting events. They may turn out to soccer or tennis matches to cheer on their countrymen.
Similarly, a patriot is likely to be a big fan of their national sports (e.g. in the United States, they may support baseball and American football) and follow the sporting fixtures closely.
3. Standing for the National Anthem
For many people, standing for the national anthem is a way to show pride in their country and its history.
When the anthem is played, it is an opportunity for people to come together and unite as one nation. Standing for the anthem also shows support for the military and first responders who have sacrificed for a nation’s freedom.
In addition, standing for the anthem is a way to show gratitude for the opportunities your country has provided for you.
4. Taking a Knee During the National Anthem
The trend of taking a knee rather than standing for a national anthem is a mix between a sign of respect for your nation and a sign you’re committed to improving it. While not all people see those who take a knee as patriots, some people do see it as a sign of commitment to the nation and a bold statement that you’re committed to making it better.
Taking a knee was started by Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick was a black football player in the Untied States who refused to stand for the anthem in a protest against racism.
Initially, Kaepernick intended to sit. However, after consulting with military veterans, he decided taking a knee was a way to both protest while also being respectful. Kneeling is a more attentive position, like praying.
Many progressive people will take a knee these days as a sign that they respect and love their country but also want it to do better. For them, kneeling is a sign that they are committed to improving the nation and striving towards the ideals they want for their nation.
Of course, this symbol is highly controversial. Opponents believe it’s disrespectful to the nation, while supporters think it’s a respectful form of protest and a sign of commitment to national progress.
5. Joining the Military
For many patriots, joining the military is a way to serve their country and protect its citizens. They feel they have a sense of duty to put their lives on the line to ensure the nation they love is strong and free.
This is often seen as the ultimate sign of patriotism and love for the nation because you’re literally putting your life in danger to make sure your nation is protected. However, some people may also join the military for personal interests, such as for money or prestige.
6. Flying your Nation’s Flag
For many people, flying a national flag is a way of showing pride in their country. It can also be seen as a symbol of unity, particularly during times of national crisis.
During national holidays and other important events, people will often bring their flags out as a sign of their love for their nation.
When I first travelled to the United States, I was taken aback at how prominent the flag was. Patriots everywhere proudly wore the flag. This symbolized to me that the United States is one of the most patriotic nations in the world.
7. Celebrating National Holidays
National holidays are a time for celebration and patriotism. They are a chance for people to come together as a nation and reflect on the values that make their nation a great place to live.
There are a number of reasons why people celebrate national holidays, but some of the most common include commemorating important historical events, celebrating the achievements of their country, and honoring those who have served or sacrificed for the nation.
8. Respecting National Symbols
Patriots respect national symbols because they represent the best of what their country stands for. By honoring these symbols, patriots show their love and appreciation for their country and its people.
National symbols are an important part of any country’s heritage. They represent the values and history of a nation and can be a source of pride for its citizens.
Examples of national symbols in the United States include the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, and Mount Rushmore.
For many people, these symbols are a way to feel connected to their country and its people. They can also be a reminder of shared traditions and customs.
9. Defending your Country
To a patriot, their country is a source of pride and joy. If their country is unfairly disparaged, it’s likely that a patriot will step up and defend it.
For example, if they overhear someone badmouthing the country, the patriot might step in and give a positive counterargument.
This is because patriots want to make sure their country is seen in a positive light. They have a very particular positive vision of their nation and, in general, it’s likely that they would want to evangelize about that vision.
10. Paying your Taxes
One of the most important civic duties is paying taxes.
By paying taxes, citizens help to fund important programs and services that benefit the community as a whole. This includes things like schools, roads, and first responders.
In addition, taxes help to support the military and other vital government agencies designed to strengthen and defend the nation. All of these things are essential for maintaining a strong and prosperous nation.
Therefore, paying taxes can be seen as a patriotic act.
For example, when politicians stand for elections, they’re often asked to present their tax returns in order to show that they have been true patriotic citizens and paid their taxes.
11. Criticizing your Nation’s Flaws
Patriotism is often thought of as a positive emotion, associated with love and pride in one’s country.
However, patriotism can also take on a more critical view, acknowledging a nation’s flaws while still feeling a sense of loyalty and attachment. This type of patriotism can be seen as a strength, as it shows a dedication to making one’s country better.
Those who choose to criticize their nation’s flaws are doing so out of a sense of love and responsibility. They see the potential for their country to improve and want to be part of the solution. This type of patriotism is vital to any nation’s growth and progress.
By encouraging open dialogue and constructive criticism, patriotic citizens can help to bring about positive change.
12. Serving on a Jury
Serving on a jury is one of the most important patriotic civic duties that a citizen can perform. It is an opportunity to help ensure that justice is served, and to play a role in upholding the rule of law.
In addition, serving on a jury is a way of ensuring that everyone has a fair trial, regardless of their social status or economic standing. It is a way of ensuring that all members of society are treated equally under the law.
13. Running for Political Office
Most politicians want to show their patriotism for their country. This is because they are standing to run the country. As a result, they should be absolutely committed to the nation and making it as great as possible.
Furthermore, patriotism also includes a commitment to making one’s country a better place. One way to do that is to run for political office. By running for office, patriots can help shape their country’s policies and laws. They can also raise awareness about important issues and rally support for needed change.
14. Buying Local
When you buy from a local business, you are supporting your community and ensuring that your hard-earned money stays within your country.
For patriots, buying local is a sign of ‘voting with your wallet’. They want to spend money on local products so they can see their own nation succeed. Furthermore, they may believe their countrymen are great at producing products, amd therefore they will be inclined to buy locally.
When you buy from a big box store, on the other hand, you are supporting a faceless corporation that is likely to be sending jobs and money offshore.
By choosing to buy local, you are voting with your dollars for a stronger and more vibrant nation.
15. Volunteering your Time
Many patriots feel a need to give back to the country that they love. One way to do that is to volunteer in their local community.
Volunteering can help them to express that strong sense of pride in their country. It helps them feel as is they have done everything they can to support the country and make it the best thing it possibly can be.
One particularly patriotic type of volunteering is joining the national guard. The national guard is a reserve military force that is called up in times of national emergencies. This type of volunteerism combines both love of country and a willingness to defend it.
Read Next: 14 Types of Nationalism
Patriotism is the act of loving your country and wanting to see it succeed. There is a wide range of things you can do to demonstrate your patriotism. Interestingly, there are also differences of opinion about what true patriotism looks like. For example, taking a knee is a cultural wedge. Some people see it as disrespectful to the flag that people have fought and died for. Others see it as a sign of commitment to improving the country they love.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]