What is my role as a patriotic American U.S. citizen?

Before I can answer that question, I need to define "patriotic" and "citizen." The definition of "citizen" from Webster's Collegiate Dictionary is that a citizen is an enfranchised member of a state or nation. In my dictionary, enfranchised means to grant a franchise to, or give the right to vote. Thus, franchise is to be granted a special right by the government and may be the right to vote. In my dictionary, a patriot is one who loves and defends his or her country. When I Google patriot, I read that a patriot is someone who loves their country and feels very loyal to it. Google defines patriotism as love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it. Google defines citizen as someone who is a member of a certain country and is legally accepted as belonging to that country. I prefer the Google definitions as they support my feelings.

As an American, my roles as a patriotic U.S. citizen are many and range from being simple to complex. I often equate being patriotic to being respectful of our flag and honoring all that it symbolizes. With mention of the flag, I must say, "one nation, under God" as part of my respect.

A major activity for me as a patriotic U.S. citizen is the role of being a member of the American Legion Auxiliary for 43 years. The ALA, the largest women's volunteer organization in America, is celebrating its 90th birthday. Being an active ALA member provides me with opportunity to fulfill many roles that are supportive to the honor of those to whom we, as "free" American citizens, owe our respect and gratitude.

A primary mission of the ALA is to honor those who served and died for their country, in all wars, including the global war on terrorism. As an ALA member, the role of leadership is a must. There are many roles a successful leader must practice.

I now have the desire to reflect on several simple and important roles that I feel are important for me to be a patriotic U.S. citizen. Is any of this being a patriotic U.S. citizen really simple? I think not. A major role is for me to be responsible for my actions so that I do not intentionally cause harm to another person, place or thing.

My answer to the title question is to be knowledgeable about the laws of this nation. I need to do my best to obey the laws as I exercise my many rights of freedom. My role as a patriotic U.S. citizen is to stand united with other patriotic U.S. citizens as we trust in God to guide us to be honorable with our daily thoughts, words and deeds.

A final definition for clarification of my thoughts is this: role is function, an actor's part. Thus, my answer to the title question cannot be a simple answer.


Canon City, Colo.

Herrell is the president of American Legion Auxiliary, Harry H. Renick Unit No. 9 in Garden City.