Bryan at the Newtown Memorial Day Parade, May 31, 1990. age nine.

The definition of “patriotism” is : “Devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country” (Oxford Languages).

Based on that definition, Bryan is a true patriot. He has shown that devotion from a young age. Parade attendance on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July was always eagerly anticipated.

When attending sporting events, the hat always comes off and goes over his heart when the National Anthem is played and/or sung. “The Star-Spangled Banner” almost always reduces him to tears.

At occasional local Special Olympics meets, Bryan has been asked to sing the National Anthem as a solo either accompanied or a capella as part of the opening ceremony. He’s all about that!

In high school, he was forever picking up pamphlets in the office regarding joining the military to protect his country. This used to get him in trouble with his teachers who had sent him to the office on an errand for them.

As a twenty and thirty -year-old, Bryan began writing “books” about the military. He would copy copious notes from various sources in spiralbound notebooks. When he would volunteer weekly at our local library, he would sign out books about various military subjects and U.S. History to use. One of his “books” was about aircraft carriers. One was on the Navy Seals. World War II always held his interest. His DVD library has an extensive collection of war movies. His uncle always stoked Bryan’s interest in history of the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War and Civil War as they explored various historical sites and battlefields together. This spawned a fun tradition – whenever we tour places which contain location maps, all we need to do is push Bryan gently in the tummy, and he will say “YOU ARE HERE” (as is evidenced on all maps) in his Announcer Voice – something his uncle started some twenty years ago.

Of course, the ultimate act of patriotism is exercising the right to vote. Bryan has been doing that ever since he registered at age eighteen. He always formulates his candidate choices on his own. I imagine the media certainly has influence over his decisions, but I’m betting his own personal belief system and love for his country plays a large part. Sometimes when he tells me for whom he voted, I am proud and amazed at his choice.

And where will he be THIS Memorial Day weekend? Steeping himself in our country’s history in Boston and fulfilling his desire to see Plymouth Rock where the Pilgrims landed. Together with this roommate. Making a wonderful memory.

One thought on “Patriotism

  1. Bryan is such a great guy! He feels things so deeply – I, too, get a little misty at the sound of the Star Spangled Banner! Plymouth Rock isn’t the huge boulder I anticipated it would be, but it’s still a significant piece of our history. I hope he and his roomie have a wonderful time exploring Boston!

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