Patriotism is a thing difficult to put into words. It is neither precisely an emotion nor an opinion, nor a mandate, but a -- a reflection of our own personal sense of worth, and respect for our roots. Love of country plays a part, but it's not merely love. Neither is it pride, although pride too is one of the ingredients.Patriotism is a commitment to what is best inside us all. And it's a recognition of that wondrous common essence in our greater surroundings -- our school, team, city, state, our immediate society -- often ultimately delineated by our ethnic roots and borders... but not always.Indeed, these border lines are so fluid... And we do not pay allegiance as much as we resonate with a shared spirit.We all feel an undeniable bond with the land where we were born. And yet, if we leave it for another, we grow to feel a similar bond, often of a more complex nature. Both are forms of patriotism -- the first, involuntary, by birth, the second by choice.Neither is less worthy than the other.But one is earned.