There was a time when patriotism meant a willingness to put the needs of our country above personal concerns, issues or pleasures. I remember life during World War II, when patriotism was popular and people sacrificed for the good of national interests. We had rationing, shaveless Tuesdays, scrap drives and no new cars for many years.

Today, the only patriots, the only ones who sacrifice, are military personnel and their families. We have become a nation of individual-issue zealots who promote their causes as if those causes were truly of national concern.

Certainly abortion, gay rights and use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes are important issues; however, they do not rise to the level of national importance. Compare them with concern about the enormous sums spent on war or the need to build an economy that allows security for all.

It is patriotic to focus on national problems. It is patriotic to insist that all of us, leaders and those who are led, work to solve national problems.

It is time for all of us to be patriots and put aside our individual concerns and devote ourselves to achieving goals that are truly central to the country’s needs.

Hubert Kauffman, Oxford


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