Image Credits: Amy Believes In Pink
As activists, it’s easy to get swept up in election polls, Senate filibusters, foreign policy changes, and the rising national debt. Some days we feel like we have a real shot at saving the country. Other days, we have break downs because of the stress. I have no doubt that our generation is capable of doing great things for our country as long as we continue to fight for what we believe is right. Our patriotism is powerful, but it’s not always about elections, legislation, or lobbying. Here are six small acts of patriotism that you can do no matter where you are in this great nation or in your political career.
1) Thank our service members
Whether you are running errands, hanging out at the mall, or gearing up for the campaign trail, it is likely that you will walk past a man or woman in uniform. It can be intimidating to talk to a stranger. Take a deep breath and walk up to these people and thank them for their service. Our service members know they signed up for a thankless job, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot try to change that. Tweeting and writing on Facebook about supporting our troops is one thing, but saying it to their faces goes a very long way.
2) Retire a flag
Old Glory flies over many businesses and at almost every school. If you happen to see her looking a little rough, buy a new one from Amazon or another affordable website, go into the business, and tell them you would like to properly retire their flag and replace it with the new one you bought. You can contact your local American Legion for help on properly retiring the American Flag. Note: When purchasing a flag, make sure you buy one made for outdoors.
3) Send a care package
There are multiple non-profit groups that support our troops. One popular organization is Operation Gratitude. Operation Gratitude sends care packages to troops overseas. Their most urgent needs are letters, handmade scarves, and general donations. Our troops are fighting for us, they need to know we are constantly thinking of them. To find out how you can help, click here.
4) Lay a flag on a veteran’s grave
Wherever you are, there is most likely a veterans cemetery near you. Organizations such as the Young Republicans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Wounded Warriors Project spend Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and the days leading up to Christmas marking veteran graves with American flags. You can contact a veterans cemetery near you to find out if a group is scheduled to mark the graves. If no one has volunteered yet, organize your own event! For a list of veterans cemeteries throughout the country, click here. Please remember that placing flowers or flags without prior permission is not always allowed.
5) Deliver groceries to the homebound citizens in your community
Sort of straying away from the veteran-centered actions that have been listed so far, helping the homebound citizens in your town is a truly patriotic act. Meals on Wheels is dedicated to delivering groceries to the elderly or disabled all across the country. As young patriots, we should be willing to take care of previous generations. Whether it’s donating your lunch hour to dropping off food to a senior, or organizing an entire event for the community, Meals on Wheels has a range of ways you can help! Click here for more information or to volunteer.
6) Buy local
Perhaps the most overlooked act of patriotism is buying local. Let’s face it, no one likes seeing an American flag with the label “Made in China” plastered on the front. If you can swing the extra few dollars, buy the item with the label “Made in America.” Beyond that, it is important to buy local all the way down to the town level. Buying groceries, tools, and household items stimulates your local economy and creates jobs within your community. If for some reason you cannot switch from big name stores, try eating at a locally-owned restaurants instead of the giant franchises.