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Are you a patriot?

October 30, 2018

The answer to this question may well be reflected in how we observe two important dates on our November calendars.

Before we talk about those dates, let’s first define the word patriot. The dictionary says a patriot is “a person who vigorously supports his or her country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.” Synonyms listed are: “nationalist or loyalist” while an ex-patriot (or ex-pat) is “a person who lives outside their native country,” as the two of us had the privilege of doing many years ago in the island Polynesian nation of Samoa. At the time we were working for two years as ex-pats ourselves with an American school on the main island of that beautiful country.

Years later we were able to spend the better part of a year in South Africa on a welfare mission. Having had those two experiences, we often strongly maintain that it would be great if every American could spend some time overseas. Virtually everyone we know who has had this experience quickly comes to appreciate what a great place America is -- even with its highly divisive problems and ever-present challenges.

Now to those two important upcoming dates which can define us as patriots:

First, in a very few days, is November 6 – the day when we Americans, as citizens of these great United States, have the privilege of exercising our right to vote. Many news pundits (or authorities) have been saying that this may well be the most important election of our lifetimes, so it behooves all who consider themselves patriots of these great United States to get out and vote.

Then just five days later, our calendars list another important day: Veterans Day. This meaningful day originated as “Armistice Day” on November 11, 1919, as the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 as an annual observance, and November 11, Veterans Day, became a national holiday that has been officially observed every year since 1938. This is a day to honor the many veterans who have served -- and will continue to serve -- our nation and remember the thousands upon thousands who died to preserve our freedoms and that inimitable right to vote in free elections.

It’s true that how we think about and observe both these special days may well be an indicator of all who consider themselves patriots.

How blessed we are as Americans. What a great country is ours in which to live. What a great time to show our love for America. What a privilege it is -- and what a great time to be a patriot

Dean & Nancy Hoch are local public affair representatives for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. dean.nancy@gmail.com.