What does it mean to be patriotic? For someone like me, born in South America, raised in Europe, and a resident of the United States of America for 10 years it means a lot of things.
Patriotism comes from the Latin word patria, which means homeland. You have no idea how often I ask myself where is my home… Venezuela? Italia?? Florida??? I can give you several reasons why each is or is not my patria. For example, I was born in Venezuela, a great deal of my family lives there, and it is a beautiful country; on the other hand, I’ve spent most of my life away from Venezuela and although I have had several opportunities and one attempt to go back, I ended up and stayed in Florida, USA. Why?
I love living in the United States! First, because I have been able to accomplish some of my dreams, including earning a degree, starting a family, and purchasing my first home. I also love the comfort and freedom that we so often take for granted. Finally, although the US is often antagonized as the symbol of extreme capitalism and consumerism, it actually is a country where equality and generosity shape its policies and day to day life.
For me being patriotic means to love my homeland and my homeland is America, a land of freedom, a land of comfort, a land of opportunities, a land of generosity, a land of second chances, a land passion… Does it mean America is without defect? Certainly not, but that is what patriotism and love are all about, being united and unconditional in spite of shortcomings and ups and downs.