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MAIL OPINION  By Shana Kongmun


Is patriotism still relevant in this day and age?

I recently visited my family back in the U.S. and attended an event where everyone stood and sang the national anthem; The Star Spangled Banner before the concert began. The concert was being performed by a Marching Band of one of the armed services. I have not sung this song for many, many years and yet the words all came back to me with ease.
It all felt oddly familiar despite the time and distance mainly because, of course, the fact that everyone in Thailand sings the Royal Anthem quite often and one stands for and hears it in the movie theaters.
I know many nationalities find this display of patriotism distasteful and think it has no place in the modern world but perhaps they are mistaking a love of militancy, a display of aggression. Perhaps it is because they were the centers of several world wars that they equate a love of country and patriotism with militancy. But I do not agree that is always so, certainly patriotism and a love of country is often warped by those in power and turned to suit their needs but this does not automatically make such a feeling repugnant or even wrong.
I know many Americans and Thais for that matter, who love their country and yet do not feel the need to display that love by invading another country. Often they are opposed to military actions by their own countries and will oppose the governments or groups that call for that action. And that does not mean they love their country less, regardless of what others may say, perhaps it may even mean that they love their country even more. They love it enough to want to take care of it and its people and realize that war is not always the answer.
So, despite the fact that some groups, some people and some governments can warp the notion of love for one’s country to suit their agendas this does not mean that those who love their country are somehow flawed or wrong or out of date. It simply means they appreciate the best their country has to offer and their good luck to have it has home.

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Is patriotism still relevant in this day and age?