What is patriotism? Is it the kind of thing where we just know it when we see it? A family waving flags at a beach on the Fourth of July? A soldier signing up to serve after 9/11?

Is it selfishly volunteering for a cause or running for political office? Is it participating in a parade? Is it becoming a nurse, doctor, EMS worker, policeman or fireman (or woman)? How about going to a memorial event on Veterans Day?

Patriotism, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “love for or devotion to one’s country.”

It’s something that’s quite elusive when the Democrats are running the country so you have to take the glimpses of patriotism were you can find them and forge on with your 10-year-old flag sticker flapping in the wind on the back of your pick-up truck.

Two patriots have died.

This week, patriotism came to us front and center with the deaths of two great Americans.

First, at the beginning of the week, it was announced that hero firefighter Bob Beckwith died at the age of 91. Beckwith, a former NYC firefighter, stood beside President George W. Bush at Ground Zero days after the terrorist attacks in 2001 when Bush went to the Big Apple to support the city and the rescue workers.

Retired firefighter Bob Beckwith passes away.

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The NY Fire Dept. confirmed Beckwith’s death on their Facebook page saying, “The FDNY mourns the loss of Firefighter Robert ‘Bob’ Beckwith, who stood with President George W. Bush at the rubble of Ground Zero just three days after the planes slammed into the World Trade Center. The iconic image of Beckwith and President Bush with a bullhorn symbolized the FDNY in its darkest hour as members and first responders relentlessly searched for survivors.”

Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. said, “Bob Beckwith was one of many retired FDNY members who responded to the World Trade Center site in the days and months following September 11 to aid in rescue and recovery, as a testament to their devotion to their FDNY family…His iconic picture with President Bush captured a moment that was both inspiring and heartbreaking. We are grateful to his service to our city and our nation, and we join his family and friends in mourning his loss.”

Firefighter Bob joined the FDNY in 1965 and was assigned to Ladder 117 in Queens. In 1987, he transferred to Ladder 164 where he spent the remainder of his career before retiring in 1994.

Ground zero hero.

He was 69-years-old when he went to Ground Zero to help even though he was “old” and retired as Kavanagh said. He climbed on top of a firetruck to get a better view of President George W. Bush, hoping to see him make his speech. It was there that he was approached by the Secret Service

asking him if it was “safe” where he was standing. Beckwith said, “Yeah, it’s a fire engine” and the Secret Service guy made him show him that it was safe by jumping up and down on the firetruck.

Beckwith tells NBC4-New York, “So, the guy tells me, ‘Look, there’s somebody coming over here and when they do, you help them up and then you get down.’ I figured there goes my nice spot.”

President Bush stands with the firefighters after 9/11.

But instead of losing the spot, Beckwith had “THE” spot of the day. Beckwith says, “I see the president on the corner and he’s headed for the microphones across the street, but he did a hard right and he comes right in front of me and he puts his arm up…I said, ‘Oh my God.’ I pulled him up on the rig, I turned him around. I said, ‘Are you OK, Mr. President?’ He said. ‘Yeah.’ So, I start to get down and he said, ‘Where you going?’ I said, ‘I was told to get down.’ He said, ‘Oh no, you stay right here.’ And he put his arm around me.”

It was on top of that firetruck with Beckwith that President Bush had his “bullhorn” moment. He was thanking the firefighters and other first responders at the scene and telling them they were in everyone’s prayers. Someone in the crowd shouted, “I can’t hear you” to which Bush responded PATRIOTICALLY, “The rest of the world hears you! And the people – and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear ALL of us soon.”

Chants of patriotism, support of the country.

The crowd started chanting, ”USA! USA!”

That’s a far cry from the president we have now who lets Iran proxies attack us over 160 times before he FINALLY decided to fight back against our enemies. And a presidential administration whose only concern seems to be not starting a “broader” war even though we’re already in one.

President Bush said about Beckwith after his passing, “I was proud to have Bob by my side at Ground Zero days later and privileged to stay in touch with this patriot over the years.”


Country music singer Toby Keith dies of cancer.

That’s also what country music singer Toby Keith was. Unfortunately, we lost Keith to cancer on Monday, February 5th at the young age of 62. I say young because I am not far off from that age in less than a decade. The news of his death was a shock to many and shared on his website and social media sites on Tuesday morning. The announcement said that he was surrounded by his family and that he fought his fight with courage and grace.

Tributes to the singer have come fast and furious from those inside and outside of the country music industry who recognize Keith as a “regular” patriotic guy who loved his family, his fans, his God and his country. Keith performed at events for President George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump – who awarded him a National Medal of the Arts.

Although I stopped listening to country music when I moved back to Michigan from Nashville, Tennessee in June of 2001, there were some songs that would still catch my attention and “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” was one of them. It was a great tribute to our armed forces and their dedication to protect our country after the events of September 11th.

Lyrics to a great battle song.

The chorus is awesome…

Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list
And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist
And the eagle will fly and it’s gonna be hell
When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell

And it’ll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you
Oh, brought to you courtesy of the red, white, and blue

And, of course, the favorite two lines of most people are:
‘Cause we’ll put a boot in your ass
It’s the American way

Keith performed the song for all of us – and on bases all over the planet for our servicemen and women. Both Keith and the song were a crowd favorite with the armed forces after releasing that song.

Keith not only performed the song, he wrote it, inspired by his father’s death in March of 2001 (he was a veteran) and the attacks on 9/11. As of July 2019, the song had sold 1,607,000 digital copies according to Wikipedia.

A decision made for our armed forces.

Keith didn’t record the song right away but had played it for service members at the Pentagon. A commander approached him and said, “You’ve got to release that as a single…That’s the most amazing battle song I’ve ever heard in my life.”

Keith said, “And so I prayed about it and discussed it with everybody for a long time, because I knew it was going to cause a storm…But at the end of the day, I was like, ‘If it means that much to those guys, then I don’t care. I’ll do it.’ And that’s when we finally decided we were going to release it.”