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
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out of date.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.