The true meaning of patriotism

Beautifully written and something I’ve spent a lot of time — especially recently — pondering.


My great-uncle, U.S. Marine Corps Private William L. Brasfield, also known as Lee, died long before I was born, but I heard all the stories. As a young man, he enlisted because he believed that was what a patriot was supposed to do.

For a while, he wrote fascinating letters home to rural Alabama about the exotic places he had been. It was an adventure, not just a duty. Then, just a few months after Pearl Harbor, he was aboard the USS Houston (CA-30), which was deployed to escort and protect convoys carrying troops to Indonesia. By late February, 1942, the Houston was located in the Java Sea, where it and four other cruisers from Australia, the United Kingdom, and The Netherlands, and 10 destroyers became engaged in battle with the Japanese.

Early on the morning of March 1, after an arduous and commendable show of force that was later…

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