Missouri is the 11th most patriotic state in the nation, according to a recent Wallethub study.
We don’t pay much attention to these rankings, but when our fair state does well in a survey on a subject that matters, it deserves a shoutout.
Moreover, communities around here are entitled to take some credit for our state’s strong showing on the matter of patriotism since they are responsible for it.
The study used 13 metrics of patriotism to determine which states have the most red, white and blue pride.
The metrics included things like average number of military enlistees per 1,000 civilian adults, percentage of voters who voted in the 2016 presidential election and volunteer rate and the volunteer hours per resident.
Missouri scored the highest in the Civics Education Requirement category because our state requires completion of a civics course for high school graduation. We’ve long advocated for that because democracy is worthy of some book learning. Understanding democracy helps fuel patriotism.
We can’t speak for other states or even other places in Missouri, but patriotism is alive and well in this part of the country. We see it every day.
People fly the flag around here — more importantly they respect the flag. They honor veterans and care about the health and well-being of their communities. They get involved in their communities.
The volunteer spirit is as strong in Franklin County as it is anywhere in the country. Many local people, organizations and religious entities who strive to make our community a better place to live. They work to lift up those in need. They have been doing it for years.
We know this because we cover them. There is plenty to write about.
People around here also protest when they see injustice. We’ve seen a lot of that lately in the local protests and demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd and others of color by police.
This isn’t the first time there have been protests in this community. In 1969/1970 young students and parents marched in the streets of Downtown Washington in support of a tax increase in the Washington School District to save a kindergarten program. Different time, different issue, but the same “taking it to the streets” attitude. It won’t be the last.
Sometimes we forget it is patriotic to protest. Our country was founded as an act of bold protest. It’s in our DNA. The First Amendment exists to ensure it continues unabated.
Social commentator Darren Walker wrote that patriotism is driven by love — love of a community, a set of principles and practices, the ethos of a people. It reflects a sense of faith in our country, one that not only allows but encourages us to question its actions.
We are seeing people who love this country question its actions right now. Some say that is anti-American. On the contrary, it is expected behavior in a democracy where citizens have the right of free speech. It is the essence of patriotism. We are witnessing the exercise of patriotism when people take to the streets to call for change.
We live in a patriotic state. We live in a patriotic community. We see it in action in its many forms every day. It’s one of the reasons this is a good place to call home.