Yes, it's Okay to be Patriotic | Callum R. Dann

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With the recent release of the movie Dunkirk, two interesting topics has been brought back onto the table. Firstly, whether or not Britons of today would fight for country. Secondly, whether or not we should be proud of Britain and its history. To both questions I answer: yes. If I were called to service I’d take up arms and I would be the first to defend Britain.

Like so many Britons, I am the decedent of a WW2 RAF air serviceman. The young generation are all too quick to forget the sacrifices made by our forefathers. It seems unbearable to me to forget the men and women who died so I could live free of persecution, tyranny and oppression. Each November, I wear my poppy and give my minutes silence in respect to that. Shamefully, the respect for those who died in service of our country is starting to die out. According to WIN/Gallup International’s global survey, just 27 per cent of Brits would fight for their country.

That is gravely worrying and we best hope we are not thrown into WW3 any time soon. In 1939 no one wanted war and certainly, no one wanted to fight another war. Yet for ‘King and Country’ people took up arms, knowing that if they were to succeed they would preserve a world free of tyranny for future generations, like mine and those after me. I am internally gratefully. Yet apparently that idea has now died. Just 27 per cent of us Brits would be willing to do the same to defend future generations. A tragedy.

When I argue that Brits should be willing to fight for country, I am not talking about blindly walking into war. The Iraq War, for example. The type of fight I am talking about is the fight for freedom and defending our island. I hope we never have another global conflict like WW2, but we do not live in a utopia and the risk of war should never be understated. My message to fellow Brits, especially young, is clear and simple: in times of great need, if you wish for your way of life to continue and for change to come through the ballot box, be ready to take arms in your countries greatest time of need. ‘Taking arms’ can also mean supporting the war effort, if needed, through other means – i.e. the Labour front.

YouGov estimate that 32 per cent of Brits are patriotic and that figure is dropping with each generation. First, let us define patriotism. To me, patriotism is the love of one country. To be patriotic, you don’t have to believe in anything politically. Patriotism is not a political catch. It is purely loving one’s country for what it is. I love me country earnestly.
I love it for the people, the history, the tradition, the culture, the geography and naturally, for all top hat wearing, tea drinking connoisseur’s.

Am I ashamed of Britain’s history? No. Now, I agree there were some dark parts of our history. We did lots wrong. That is no reason to be ashamed, however. By today’s standards, the idea of an Empire is outrageous. But by the standards of previous centuries, if you didn’t have an Empire, you were weak and lacked intelligence. Never forget such when considering the patriotic debate. Time changes, norms change.

The reason I am patriotic and believe Brits should be proud is because in times of turmoil, it is the love for one’s country that unites everyone. It brings unity among the people and a feeling of belonging. It is during times of great patriotism that we have achieved great things and beaten all the odds. As we look forward to uncertain times, it will be that unity that sees us through and steadies the ship.

My favourite clip from The Gathering Storm is when Albert Finney, acting as Churchill, says: “England. Look at it, Clemmie. Nowhere in the world, could you find a landscape more ravishing than that. And it’s ours to look at and to cherish for the rest of our lives. I would die for it.”

Britons: you can be proud. Embrace what your forefathers gifted to you.

Callum R. Dann is a writer for Student Voices

Yes, it's Okay to be Patriotic | Callum R. Dann Yes, it's Okay to be Patriotic | Callum R. Dann Reviewed by Student Voices on 14:22 Rating: 5

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