One year later

Melissa Leach

A year has passed. The world has changed. A nation has been awakened and a people have become united.

For most of us, normalcy has settled in and we have resumed the average college lifestyle. Yet, while months passed by, there has been a spark of something different in the country. It is a spark that has yet to lose its glow and its energy.

It shines bright and sparkles for all to see. It is our patriotism. It is in our speech, our clothes, our decor, our art and our entertainment. Patriotism is everywhere these days. It is the latest, greatest fad that shows no signs of fading.

Music has the ability to evoke emotions that touch the spirit, as well as move it to new heights. Patriotism has rung loudly through the art of song.

Countless songs have been made to honor, remember and inspire America and its people. Bruce Springsteen recently released album, “The Rising,” commemorates the heros and the victims of Sept. 11:

“Come on up for the rising … Come on up, lay your hands in mine. Come on up for the rising … Come on up for the rising tonight.”

Country music has added its share of songs, such as: Toby Keith’s “Courtesy the Red, White and Blue,” Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?” and Brooks and Dunn’s, “Only in America.”

Can you remember the way your street or neighborhood looked before Sept. 11? Do you know what it looks like now? Do you now see flags outside the houses or stickers in the front windows?

When was the last time you pulled behind a car at stoplight and didn’t see a bumper sticker saying “We Will Never Forget,” “God Bless America” or anything related to the Stars and Stripes? Patriotism is around every street corner and in every neighborhood.We are even wearing our patriotism. The most popular bathing suit this summer was the American flag design.

The mall is cluttered with clothes that scream “We Love America!”

There are even bandannas, hats and shirts with outlines of the NYC skyline and the notorious “I Love NY” logo. In all shapes and styles, patriotism has become a fashion statement.

Webster’s Dictionary defines patriotism as love for or devotion to one’s country. It is an ambiguous definition. However, the patriotism that lives in this country today is far from ambiguous.

It can be seen it can be heard and it can even be worn. Yes, our lives have appeared to return to normalcy, yet that does not mean our lives have remained unchanged.

For Americans, normal is not only the way life used to be, but also the way we live our lives today.

We live today with pride for our country, honor for those who defend it and thankfulness for those who have the privilege to share in its freedoms.