I'm not a nationalist, but I am a patriot. My family and I lived outside our nation of origin for 15 years, and I've traveled to many other nations. I'm thankful, to God, for where I was born and the privileges extended to me and my family citizens of the USA.
Nationalism, a fervent love of one's own nation, can easily become xenophobic and ethnocentric. Patriotism, in my view, is not about pride, but gratitude—thankfulness and humility.
This is what celebrating Memorial Day ought to be about—thankfulness for those who've given their lives to secure our freedom, both past and present. This, in and of itself, should humble all who call the USA their home, their nation. We are a nation of immigrants from around the world, who should be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy.
I have family and friends who have served and are serving in the military. I am indebted to them and others like them through the decades. We all are, even when we don't acknowledge it.
Yesterday I had the privilege of sharing the message of the gospel. I'm reminded of what Jesus said—
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. (John 15:13 NKJV)
Not all that serve in the military are Christian believers, but I'm thankful for all who serve and have served, because I have the freedom to express my faith. I know this is not a guaranteed freedom or right in many nations, so I'm thankful. I'm humbled by their service, and thankful that my faith is founded on the one, genuinely innocent Man, Jesus Christ, who laid down His life for all people, everywhere.
This is why I'm not a nationalist, nor xenophobic, and don't want to be ethnocentric. But I am proud of those who have served and serve this nation I call home.
My heart was stirred while listening to the radio in my car yesterday. A song came on that reminded me of God's love, and the love of those who've laid down their lives for others. It's called, Letters from War, by Mark Shultz, who won a Dove award for it in 2005, and wrote a book that gives the back story for it. Below are links for both of them.
This day, Memorial Day, is a national day of remembrance. Every day is an opportunity to be thankful and humble.