A Steadfast Patriotism Rose from Ash of September 11; Resurgence of Symbols Tied to American Wars

Article excerpt

Byline: Amy Doolittle, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The flag-waving of post-September 11 America has turned into a patriotism with staying power, a survey by Roper Reports shows.

About eight in 10 Americans from every walk of life say patriotism is "in." Survey respondents ranked patriotism as 12th among the 60 most important values to hold.

Increased patriotism, pollsters and analysts say, can be linked directly to sentiment after September 11 and during the ongoing war on terror.

"You can't ignore the reaction to global events and our place in the world," says Cary Silvers, vice president of NOP World, which distributed the survey. "The feeling is that patriotism is a defense mechanism."

Among the findings of the survey are:

* 75 percent of Democrats say patriotism is "in."

* 80 percent of Republicans say patriotism is "in."

* 77 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 say patriotism is "in," up from 44 percent in 1999.

* Religiosity has little bearing on the importance of patriotism. Those who attend church regularly ranked patriotism as the 14th most important value; those who do not attend church regularly ranked it as 12th.

* The rise in perceived patriotism parallels that in Americans' personal confidence; 69 percent of Americans are confident that they will be better off in 12 months, up three percentage points from 2004.

The September 11 terrorist attacks reminded Americans what it feels like to love a country, a people and a cause. Today's patriotic fervor, then, is a manifestation of that love.

"In terms of the nation after 9/11, we saw a huge resurgence in patriotism in that you saw American flags flying everywhere. In past wars, too, after Pearl Harbor, you saw a huge surge in patriotism because people unite in times of war and unite for the common good," says Joe March, a spokesman with the American Legion.

The American flag, specialists say, is the symbol of choice for Americans who want to display their devotion to the country without words. …