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In Flanders Fields, for those who served



It’s about who we are

This op-ed written by Joe Nocera in Saturday’s New York Times speaks volumes about who America is now and who we were after WWII when a young Army combat engineer named Harold Burson covered the Nuremberg trials for the American Forces Network. Nocera writes of Burson’s coverage:

There was another aspect to Harold’s scripts, one I found quite endearing. They have an earnest, idealistic quality that reminds you just how full of hope America was after World War II. Though we had fought a brutal war, we were determined to act generously to the vanquished. That even applied to the Nazi brass who had committed reprehensible crimes against humanity. “G.I.’s have one stock question,” reads Burson’s very first script. “Why can’t we just take them out and shoot ’em? We know they’re guilty.” Read all »



Authentic Patriotism video is in

Did you miss our Authentic Patriotism Dinner at the Square? Don’t miss this wise, powerful and riveting talk by our special guest Stephen P. Kiernan. Learn more about Stephen and his B1 campaign HERE. (We’ll have the panel discussion video up shortly!)



What Stephen Kiernan taught me about loving America (and getting back to Kansas)

A few realizations hit like a ton of bricks. Then try as you might, there’s no going back to before you understood.

Spending a couple days with Stephen Kiernan, award-winning journalist and author of Authentic Patriotism: Restoring America’s Founding Ideals through Selfless Action (paperback release was just last week) was both personally delightful and a little unsettling in its conscience-pricking moments.

Turns out America’s new favorite pastime of screaming obscenities at each other from our easy chairs isn’t exactly what our founders had in mind when they kicked around that audacious notion of self-governance. Read all »



Authentic Patriotism photos are in!



Make change through service, author urges

Laura Osteen looked out into the audience and asked one question. “How many folks in the room worry that we are, as a nation, adrift?” Wordlessly, all of those seated before her raised their hands. A group of more than a hundred volunteers, Village Square and community members gathered Tuesday evening to hear Stephen Kiernan, the author of “Authentic Patriotism,” present his idea of what it means to be truly American. He was invited to speak as part of the Village Square’s “Divided States of America” series. Village Square is a nonprofit, non-partisan forum on matters of local, state and national importance. Read all »



Charles Preston: Authentic Patriots put their lives on hold when country calls

Charles Preston, a Treasury Management sales representative at Capital City Bank, has been a member of the United States Army Reserves since 2002. In that time, he has served two tours of duty, the first with Operation Iraqi Freedom II in 2004 and the second, from which he just returned in December 2010, in the Parwan province of Afghanistan.

It was after his circumstances directed him back home to his family after high school instead of toward a possible college football career that Charles first considered a career in the military. It was 2003 and it was clear to him that he would be called to active duty in a war zone. While in retrospect he didn’t fully understand the sacrifice when he signed on, he felt ready.

These years later, Charles now fully comprehends what those who give their careers or part of them to military service. He describes going out of his way when he sees a veteran around town to say thank you. He understands the full measure of their devotion. A high school friend from JROTC was killed in Iraq. Read all »



Melanie Mays: Authentic Patriots make things happen

Melanie Mays settled in the Monticello community about six years ago coming from New York City.

Melanie is a busy person. She is a professional actor, singer, dancer, instrumentalist, writer, lyricist, composer, arranger, choreographer, and director. She’s had lead roles in Smoke on the Mountain, Swingtime Canteen, Will Rogers’ Follies, Grease, Diamond Studs, Nunsense, Nunsense II, Sugar Babies, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and Solid Gold Cadillac.

In addition to performance arts, Melanie is also involved in the world of visual arts. She is the past president of Jefferson Arts Gallery and a fiber artist who has her own knitting website. Melanie is a published designer and teacher of fiber arts. She’s even invented a product that is sold in yarn stores across America. Read all »



Authentic Patriotism doesn’t just feel good, it makes sense

Between Memorial Day and July 4th, we’ll be doing a series of posts on Authentic Patriotism, featuring vignettes from Stephen P. Kiernan’s book Authentic Patriotism as well as local stories of authentic patriotism (you can submit them HERE). Stephen will be our featured speaker at the June 21 Dinner at the Square (find details HERE).

The future of an adolescent who enter Rikers Island prison are grim. Even for those who are quickly released after having been found innocent have usually adopted the tough prison culture that changes the path of their life. According to Kiernan, upon release the percentage of young inmates enrolled in school is zero. A released inmate often doesn’t have a job or a place to live and has now been educated to be a criminal. The rate of their return to prison is 70%. Read all »



Authentic patriots are all ages

Between Memorial Day and July 4th, we’ll be doing a series of posts on Authentic Patriotism, featuring vignettes from Stephen P. Kiernan’s book Authentic Patriotism as well as local stories of authentic patriotism (you can submit them HERE). Stephen will be our featured speaker at the June 21 Dinner at the Square (find details HERE).

Eleventh-grader Rachel Rosenfeld developed a stomach illness that kept her out of school for a whole year. During that time she read about a Cambodian girl about the same age as her for whom education was the only road that didn’t lead to a life of prostitution, but there was no school in the girl’s hometown. Rachel spent the year writing letters requesting contributions. She raised over $50,000. The publicity of Rachel’s effort got attention from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank who donated additional funding to build a school. The year after Rachel missed school, she was in Cambodia cutting a ribbon at the opening of the three hundred student namesake R.S. Rosenfeld School.

Submit a local authentic patriot nomination (contributions large and small) HERE. Deadline is tomorrow.



Authentic patriots don’t always volunteer for the job

Between Memorial Day and July 4th, we’ll be doing a series of posts on Authentic Patriotism, featuring vignettes from Stephen P. Kiernan’s book Authentic Patriotism as well as local stories of authentic patriotism (you can submit them HERE). Stephen will be our featured speaker at the June 21 Dinner at the Square (find details HERE).

One of the first concepts offered by Stephen Kiernan in Authentic Patriotism is that authentic patriots sometimes get there kicking and screaming.

Kiernan tells us the story of a thirty-five year old Jenifer Estess diagnosed with the unforgiving amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Turns out Lou Gehrig’s is considered an “orphan” disease, one that is not sufficiently profitable – usually because of relatively low numbers of people suffering from the illness – for private companies to take on the expensive research to find a cure. Consistent with Kiernan’s message, government research was also woefully inadequate to date. Read all »



Authentic Patriotism: Contributions large and small

Between Memorial Day and July 4th, we’ll be doing a series of posts on Authentic Patriotism, featuring vignettes from Stephen P. Kiernan’s book Authentic Patriotism as well as local stories of authentic patriotism (you can submit them HERE). Stephen will be our featured speaker at the June 21 Dinner at the Square (find details HERE).

Here Kiernan writes of seemingly small contributions that mean everything”

For every new campaign from some social entrepreneur, many more volunteers stuff the envelopes. For every dream some civic activist pursues, many more people write checks to make it possible. For every inspiring speaker standing at a microphone, there are countless people who hae scheduled the event, brought in the podium, and set up the chairs. For every celebration, someone filled the balloons.

Learn about how you can make contributions to our community through the Tallahassee Democrat’s Community Hands project.



Authentic Patriotism: George Washington

Between Memorial Day and July 4th, we’ll be doing a series of posts on Authentic Patriotism, featuring vignettes from Stephen P. Kiernan’s book Authentic Patriotism as well as local stories of authentic patriotism (you can submit them HERE). Stephen will be our featured speaker at the June 21 Dinner at the Square (find details HERE).

Kiernan writes of the personal sacrifices made by patriots in the founding generation for their love of country. Here Kiernan tells President George Washington’s story Read all »