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Acts of patriotism

Last Tuesday's terrorist attacks have prompted an outpouring of nationalist sentiment on a scale not seen since World War II. What is the most original or inspiring display of patriotism you've witnessed over the past week?

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I, too, am a DJ. This past Sunday, at a wedding I was a DJ at, near the end of the wedding I played "America the Beautiful" by Ray Charles. I didn't have to say one word; the entire group of 200+ people joined arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder, formed a circle and swayed and sang the entire song. It was moving to say the least. They needed no prodding whatsoever. They "pulled together" on their own, accepting their role of support conscientiously, with compassion, born of Patriotism.
-Richard Dahlinger, Chelsea

After watching TV all week and fueling those emotions of both anger and grief I decided it was time to get out for a few hours. Walking down commonwealth Ave. to a bar to ease some pain I was so proud to be an American. there were people on either side of the street walking with candles, sitting on their steps with candles, flags draped out of windows everywhere, and patriotic music coming from various homes. I was so amazed. I just kept walking never went to that bar but instead turned around and went home. where I proceeded to unplug the television and take every candle I could find and light them on my front porch.
-John, Brighton

This did not occur in the past week, but is perhaps just as relevant. Americans may have been reminded - but their strong beliefs, patriotism, and ties and respect for the past is one of the strongest images I have from our visit to Boston this past summer.

My family and I went to a Memorial Day parade in Nahant. We stood there watching the young Brownies, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, Police, Firemen, Town Officials, and many other members of the community as they marched by. Then, there they suddenly were, the elderly war veterans walking straight-backed and proud down the street in their various uniforms. I looked around, astounded to see ALL the people that came out of their houses, to cheer and show their respect and community spirit - I literally choked up and was brought to tears, which came as a complete shock to me as I have seen countless such parades growing up in Cambridge and was never so deeply affected by them, until now - after being gone for so long. (I have been residing in Europe for the past 13 years or so).

The true specialness of it hit me; as such a display just does not exist in Sweden, or indeed many countries in Europe. (It was so long ago that Sweden has had to stand up or fight for anything that they have no real idea what it is be proud of or fight for what you believe in). That is one quality that America can be proud of. We honor the past, and honor our freedom and democracy. All this is what I was thinking while watching the parade, comprised of young and old alike. How wonderful that these ties to the past are passed on to the young generations, including them in its specialness.

At the time, I was glad to be holding my one-year old daughter throughout the entire parade. It gave me something to hide my face in, in embarrassment over my tears. Now however I realize this is not something to be embarrassed over. It is the best and truest part of what being an American is all about.

In the future I will wear my tears with pride.
-Nina Smith Lindqvist, Stockholm, Sweden

This morning from 7-11 in Norton roughly 20 members of our fire and police department volunteered their time at our main intersection to collect money for the relief fund. My husband was one of the members of the police departments who took part in the collection. He could not believe the outpouring of support and money donated by residents of our town. People were giving whatever was in their wallets. One businessman gave $500 cash. People were handing over $100 checks. He alone emptied the 5 gallon bucket 4 times. The local bank is going to match the money collected. This will also take place tomorrow from 3-7. I'm sure other communities are doing similar events. Thank you.
-Christine Dennehy, Norton

Nothing could be more patriotic then the men and women digging in NYC. And in the middle of it all, they raised our flag. Nothing makes me more choked up then watching them work day and night.
-Student, Boston

Growing up in America has never been an easy thing for a lot of people. I am 23 years old and have been brought up with my American values but have taken advantage of my freedom. In the wake of these attacks it has opened my heart as an American and made feel a sense of Pride to be an American. I never thought I would ever cry at the sight of the American Flag or the Star Spangled Banner but today I do. I am very lucky to be part of a Great Nation that can unite as one and this is what is the most important feeling of patriotism I have ever felt. To my fellow Americans, your in my prayers and always remember your roots in this Great Country...GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!
-Brian, Dracut

Lowell is a highly populated city of many different ethnicity backgrounds. Friday night, the streets were jammed with people parading down the streets holding flags. There were white people, Asian, Spanish, African all parading together. It was beautiful.
-Lisa, Lowell

Driving to the North Shore this weekend, among all of the flags on the highway overpasses, stood one in particular. This sheet was decorated in red, white, and blue. It had a picture of a Police officer on the left and a fireman on the right and the caption read: "The other Twin Towers of New York City". It couldn't have been said better.
-Katie, Medford

It was a good seeing people displaying their flags on homes, businesses and even their clothing. It made me feel proud and part of a great society no matter the race or creed. Unfortunately that feeling was tarnished a little when a truck was flying the American flag and next to it a huge Confederate flag.
-D. Bennett, Milford

I would like to applaud an entirely different form of patriotism. Two policemen stopped Muslim woman (a friend of a friend) on a Boston highway, insisted she get out of her car, and swore at her. She remained calm and explained to them how different her Muslim faith makes her from the so-called Muslim terrorists. The police listened carefully, apologized, and released her. Later that evening, they came to her house, saying they felt they had a lot to learn and wanted to talk more about how to treat Muslims respectfully. They sincerely apologized again. I think these men demonstrated patriotism in seeking tolerance and respect, even in the pursuit of justice.
-Barb, Lexington

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