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Written by By Thamar Jones   
Friday, 07 September 2018 00:00

If there is one month that Belizeans eagerly await it is September. From St. George’s Caye Day on September 10th to National Service Day on September 18th and ending it off with Independence Day on September 21st, the month of September is rightfully ours. And in Belizean fashion we turn any special event into an all-out celebration. In this month we speak a lot about our history, our love of Country and Patriotism, but what does it really mean to be patriotic?

Patriotism does not care about political party. It is the common thread of heritage and ancestry that connects all of us as Belizeans. It is the one sense of unity that is strong enough to unite us despite color, race, class and political affiliation.

Patriotism is a vigorous support for one’s country. Patriotism is the love, respect and attachment to our homeland Belize. This attachment can be a combination of many different features relating to Belizeaness homeland, including ethnic, cultural, or historical aspects. It encompasses a set of concepts closely related to those of nationalism.

Patriotism is not simply about pledging allegiance to a country/nation. It is about a feeling and, as with other feelings, it cannot be proved whether someone is patriotic or not but simply can be deduced from their actions and words. A song or a poem can put you in a patriotic mood. But this is bigger than a mood…does your actions show your love and respect of country?

Why is Patriotism important? Now, why this feeling of patriotism is important is simple to understand. To understand the significance of patriotism, consider what happens within a family when a certain amount of loyalty does not exist. A spouse cheats on a spouse, a parent fails to defend her child, and a child ignores their parent. The family disintegrates.

Another apt comparison is a sports team. What would happen if players who are unhappy with the coach decided to get even by revealing their playbooks to the opposing team or by undermining the team’s strategy and purposely failing to do their jobs? That would lead to the end of the team eventually.

In a country. Patriotism is necessary to preserve and protect the nation.

Patriotism is not simply “born here,” it is about defending Belize’s heritage, and our nationality. Are you willing to defend Belize against all nations? If you choose to do that for the love of Country then you are a Patriot.

In Belize we welcome any person whether born here or not as long as they support and build our country. Your assimilation as a Belizean must be by choice because of your love for Belize and all she is.

I feel a certain loyalty to my parents’ African ancestry which goes generations back. But even before a Creole, I am a Belizean. Belize is referred to as the Melting Pot because of the diversity of cultures that inhabit this land. The list includes, the Creole, Maya, Mestizos, Spanish, Garifuna, East Indian, and now, Asian and Middle Eastern among others. But to be a Patriot of Belize your loyalty must be first to Belize… even before your culture. If you do not feel that or choose that you are not a true Patriot.

God bless Belize and those who truly love her this September and beyond.