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An Explosion Of Expression

An Explosion Of ExpressionThere's no doubt that patriotism in the U.S. is on the rise, but what does the burst in national pride really mean?

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [11.27.01] Over the last few months, American flags have popped up just about everywhere -- from car windows to highway billboards to store displays and advertisements. The wide-spread display of "Old Glory" is just one of the indications that patriotism in the U.S. is on the rise since Sept. 11. To find out what the explosion in national pride means to the average person, the Christian Science Monitor turned to a small group of people, including Tufts senior Chua Hua.

The English and economics double major told the Monitor that she thinks patriotism doesn't have the same meaning for every person.

"I think individuals need to define patriotism for themselves," she said.

For Hua, a lot of her patriotism is rooted in her personal experiences.

"One of the reasons I'm so patriotic is that I know what my parents have been through," she told the newspaper. "They were immigrants from Vietnam ... boat people who took a terrifying five-day journey by boat to Malaysia. They came to this country and found opportunity."

More recently, the events of Sept. 11, revived those feelings of pride.

"I used to work across the street [from the World Trade Center], and I have a lot of good friends there who were affected by the attacks," Hua told the Monitor. "The weekend after is happened I went down, and what I saw was an enormous display of patriotism; people had flags on windows, on their homes, on their cars."

But national pride doesn't mean ignoring the country's mistakes, she cautioned.

"I think being patriotic includes knowing why you're patriotic, expressing that when you feel it's needed, and questioning it as well," Hua said. "I understand, yes, we've committed egregious mistakes in the history of our nation, but I'm proud that we have the democracy and the unity that I value in freedom."

Patriotism, she added, "means taking the good with the bad, and questioning and disagreeing."

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