Choir Notes

Patriotism That Stands for Love of People
From Music and the Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell • Program 4372

Anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, and other commemorations are an important part of life. They give us a chance to mark our progress, celebrate for a moment our accomplishments and growth, and renew our bonds as a family, community, and nation. And so today we celebrate this land that we love.

As we do, we recognize that although we have much to celebrate, things are not perfect. Even as patriotic parades and picnics unfold and as dazzling fireworks burst in the air, we know that there are problems at home and abroad. But those troubles and challenges should not damper our fervent love of country, nor should they discourage our desire to do our part to make this nation better. Just as there have always been difficulties, things can always get better—as long as courageous people reach out to one another in love.

In 1968, Gerald Ford, then a member of the House of Representatives, saw true patriotism as the solution to the difficulties facing the nation. He said: “America now is stumbling through the darkness of hatred and divisiveness. Our values, our principles, and our determination to succeed as a free and democratic people will give us a torch to light the way. And we will survive and become the stronger—not only because of a patriotism that stands for love of country, but a patriotism that stands for love of people.”1 

Indeed, true patriotism is more than love of country—it is love of people. That is the torch that lights the way to our best future. Think of fireworks as celebrations of individual lives, past and present—each unique and magnificent. Think of parades and picnics as gatherings of love for the people who have made us who we are. We will survive and thrive as a nation as we love our country and as we love one another.

1. In Suzy Platt, ed., Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1993), 246–47

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