Amid the fires raging through California, an image of patriotism emerges

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Amid the fires raging through California, an image of patriotism emerges

[PHOTO CREDIT: Josh Edelson]

In 2014 the New York Times published an article titled “Younger Americans Are Less Patriotic. At Least, in Some Ways.”   It discussed this shifting patriotism:

Americans are a patriotic bunch. Compared with people in most other countries, Americans express more pride in their nationality, and most say that being an American is an important part of their identity.

Even so, patriotism in America is on the decline.

But the decline seems to have more to do with reactions to the symbols of American democracy than its values. Older Americans remain remarkably high in their devotion to symbols like the flag, while young citizens are cooler toward Old Glory but express higher support for classic American ideals like equality and opportunity.

In July of last year, Patriotism was at its lowest ebb ever according to a Gallup Poll:

As the nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, 52% of U.S. adults say they are "extremely proud" to be Americans, a new low in Gallup's 16-year trend. Americans' patriotism spiked after 9/11, peaking at 70% in 2003, but has declined since, including an eight-percentage-point drop in early 2005 and a five-point drop since 2013.

Americans' declining patriotism is likely related to broader dissatisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. In January 2004, when 69% were extremely proud to be an American, 55% of Americans were satisfied with the way things were going in the U.S. That was the last time satisfaction has been at the majority level, and the percentage satisfied has mostly held below 30% since 2007, including the 29% in Gallup's most recent update.

For my part, I’ve always been equally patriotic, 100 percent, all the time.  Obviously there are issues with our country, but when you visit other countries, you can’t help but realize we have the best country in the world.  There will always be injustice, and always people who refuse to stand for the anthem or show respect for the flag, but for each of those people it’s my belief there are hundreds more who are patriots.

Take for instance “Fed Ex Guy,” Matt Uhrin from earlier this year:

The story went viral, because I think deep down inside people want a reason to love our country, and love seeing people willing to expose themselves to danger to do it.  Which is why this story from CNN and the accompanying photo are also going viral:

Amid the devastation and desolation left behind as wildfires blaze across California, one photo captured an inspiring moment.

In the image, three firefighters in Oroville, California, appear to be saving an American flag from the impending fire on Saturday. One rescuer, held up by two crewmates, is seen reaching up to remove the flag from the side of a home. The identities of the firefighters, as well as the specific location of the home, are unclear.

The photographer, Josh Edelson, opined that perhaps they were taking it down as a preventative measure.  Possibly that is true, but I like to think it was patriotism.  Maybe the photo is some sort of Rohrschach’s Test, in which case I guess people will see what they want.

Posted in the burner | 12 comments
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fail to see why it be worth the effort? time better spent in equipment overhaul.

Your statement is confused; 'Time spent in equipment overhaul' is not 'active duty' time. When on the 'job', whether military, or public employee, doing what needs to be done-on the spot, rather than dithering- is what saves the day. Likely, the firefighters were 'in between steps' in their process of implementing their skills, & saved the flag before moving on to the next locale, or 'step'. Why the questioning? Marines have it as " Adapt & survive'. If you 'fail to see why it's be worth the effort', perhaps you haven't sacrificed your life for others, as in fact, many soldiers and fire fighters have, and don't know the value of the symbol of your country. If this is the case, I wouldn't condemn you as you have the right to question, but to a soldier- or a fire fighter, your question is irksome and my fellow men-at arms would ask you to be more understanding, if not educated concerning your homeland's heritage and a citizen's responsibilities to support not only the country, but each other when in whatever conflict.

I know I'll be yelled at but I would rather see a thousand flags burned than to see just one American's rights trod upon. The flag is a symbol of these rights and not of any value except for that symbolism. There are way too many people who pay lip service to the flag but destroy what it stands for. This country stands for freedom and equality for all and if you don't agree you are the one who is not patriotic, whether you salute the flag or not.

The FLAG of these United States may only be a piece of cloth to some people, and that may be true.
What the FLAG stands for is what is so important. To me, it stands for a country that gives me and these people the right to disagree with their gov. and each other without fear of reprisal. That right was fought and died for by one hell of a lot of citizens. So respecting the FLAG is also respecting your country and the Thousands of citizens that gave you this most Important right, their lives!
By disrespecting OUR FLAG or OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM they not only are showing their lack of understanding of how they got these rights in the first place but are saying to our ancestors YOU DIED FOR NOTHING!

Kudos to you Bob. The real issue here is that so many people don't remember what got us here. The men and women who saw our country just being torn apart by those who burned their draft cards or ran off to Canada. Leaving those men and women who loved their country and believed it was the best country in the world to go when their country called them. Those who stayed home show no respect for our country and that is seen by those coming across our borders. If we don't love our country and are not willing to fight for it why should they have any respect for it either. FREEDOM IS NOT FREE, BUT IT IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR!! I can only say bravo to anyone who stands up for the good old USA.

The photo of firemen taking down the flag during a wildfire reminded me of the photo of our Marines raising the flag on Mt Suribachi during WWII.

I believe that our country should be recognize the American people who stand up for the people of the United States.

Wonderful picture. Flag burning is not free speech. It is a hate crime against America. To Daniel Kehoe. " a thousand flags burned" seriously ! I have a right to free speech too and I say if you think that way please leave. America dosnt need people like you.

I read and watch with great concern firefighters who sacrifice their lives to save property in areas which are remote and, frequently, havens for the rich whether California, Utah or Arizona. NO BUILDING IS WORTH A HUMAN LIFE. The picture is symbolic of what I hope is NOT risky behavior. I live in an area of lower middle people surrounded by thunderbird forest. We have some wealthy folks also in virtually inaccessible areas. LET THOSE HOMES BURN and save our firefighters to fight another day. We have lost several firefighters within the last ten years, incinerated alive.

Would be interested to know names of those pictured. My son is on a team battling these wildfires.

This photograph of firemen saving old glory touched my heart.

They came, saw & acted. Didn't belittle another's opinion, destroy property or make demands. They sought no fame. They did inspire & God bless them for it!

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.