137 years later, Memorial Day remains one of America's most cherished patriotic observances. The spirit of this day has not changed - it remains a day to honor those who died defending our freedom and democracy. A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle and patriotism is loyalty to that principle. A nation is a society united by a delusion about its ancestry and by common hatred of its neighbours. A real patriot is the fellow who gets a parking ticket and rejoices that the system works. And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. Can anything be stupider than that a man has the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of a river and his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have not quarrelled with him? Dissent is the highest form of patriotism. Each nation feels superior to other nations. That breeds patriotism - and wars. Gentlemen have talked a great deal of patriotism. A venerable word, when duly practised. Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism. Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism - how passionately I hate them! I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world. I distinguish, between nationalism and patriotism. I have long believed that sacrifice is the pinnacle of patriotism. I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world. I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country. I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone. I'm an advocate of the great Dr. Johnson, the English man of letters who said that patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel. It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind.
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