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What is patriotism

            Being patriotic might be something different to me than it is to others. Everyone has his or her definition of being patriotic. The dictionary has it is own, I have my own, and you probably have your own. .
             Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines patriotic as "inspired by patriotism." It also defines patriotism as "love for or devotion to one's country.".
             My definition is a little different and a little longer. It is based on life experiences. Up until I was eleven years old my dad was in the military. He had to go on TDY's a lot. TDY stands for Temporary Duty. When another place needed someone to do my dad's job, he was sent there. He did not know when he would come back most of the time. He might even miss our birthdays or holidays. But we had to put up with it. That is being patriotic to me.
             I have been an Air Force "brat" all of my life, up until the last few years. I've had to watch my dad walk onto the planes that would take him away from us for a while. The longest my dad has ever been away from us is seven and one half months. When he went to Saudi Arabia when I was three years old. That time he was walking to the bus that would take him to the plane, I ran after him. I hugged him and would not let him go. That made everyone cry. But I let him go. I knew I had to let him go. I did not know it then, but I was being patriotic. .
             What I remember most though was having to move. Every few years we had to pack up and move. We left our friends. We left our lives. We had to start over. In my childhood I have already had six best friends. But we did it all for Dad because Dad was being patriotic, all of us were being patriotic. .
             My definition of being patriotic is very different but it is my definition. It is what being patriotic means to me based on life experiences. Patriotism is a way of life.

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