Stephen Edward Ambrose On Patriotism

Stephen Edward Ambrose (January 10, 1936 – October 13, 2002)

Today, Cajuns from the Gulf Coast have never met a black person from Chicago. Kids from the ghetto don’t know a middle-class white. Mexican-Americans have no contact with Jews. Muslim Americans have few Christian acquaintances … But during World War II and the Cold War, American [men] from every group got together in the service, having a common goal — to defend their country … They learned together, pledged allegiance together, sweated together, hated their drill sergeants together, got drunk together, went overseas together. What they had in common — patriotism, a language, a past they could emphasize and venerate — mattered far more than what divided them.