I have never had a propensity for flag-waving. But a revival of patriotism would be a happy antidote to both anarchy and nationalism. Webster’s competent “unabridged” ghost writer defines patriotism as devotion to the welfare of one’s country—not simply to national interests. But multitudes today are devoted to self-interest above all else and think of national welfare mostly in terms of larger government subsidies. John F. Kennedy’s ghost-writer struck more durable pay dirt when he wrote those classic lines: “Ask not what America will do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”
Seldom do I feel more like flag-waving than after a trip to other lands. Except for customs line-up and pile-up, American re-entry is always an exhilarating adventure. It would have been too bad had thousands of citizens been discouraged by heavy travel impositions from discovering for themselves what a privilege and blessing it is to live in these United States.
For all the mass-media propaganda about our deteriorating image abroad—and who can gainsay a troubling decline?—friends I’ve made in Africa and Europe and the Middle East would gladly trade a great deal for the opportunity of beginning again in the U. S. A.
Many died to bring this nation to birth, and many die still to preserve its integrity. It would be an inestimable betrayal if those of us who enjoy this land of privilege were to subvert this heritage by selfish pursuits and ambitions rather than to practice devotion to the national good. Welfare, or well-being, ought not to be equated merely with food stamps.1
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