American flags fly on the lawn of the Kirkhof Center in honor of 9/11 victims.

Hauenstein Center panel to offer insights on patriotism

Portrait of Hauenstein Center Director Megan Rydecki
Hauenstein Center Director Megan Rydecki
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

The concept of patriotism and its significance has reverberated through the United States since its founding. 

GVSU’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies and its Common Ground Initiative welcome three guest speakers to address and explore the contemporary understanding of patriotism among Americans in the early 21st century. 

Yale political science professor Steven B. Smith, syndicated columnist and author Cal Thomas and historian and novelist Elizabeth Cobbs will share their insights on patriotism at 6 p.m. on April 18 at the DeVos Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus .

Hauenstein Center Director Megan Rydecki said the discussion echoes the center’s programming theme on empowered citizenship and its impact on the national and global scales. 

“Our theme of empowered citizenship speaks exactly to the idea of patriotism,” Rydecki said. “Citizenship and being a part of this country depends on each one of us waking up and deciding how we are going to be in the world, and I think that’s true for patriotism. It’s very much about how we show up in the world and about what we're willing to put into it that makes the world around us.”

A 2023 Gallup poll revealed that 67% of U.S. adults report being extremely proud to be American; however, registered Democrats are half as likely as registered Republicans to consider themselves extremely proud to be American.

“We've been using the phrase around the Hauenstein Center: ‘It’s a republic, if you can keep it,’” Rydecki said. “Our nation is dependent upon the individual actions of 335 million people, and that’s what makes us great. That's ultimately our own actions, and what makes us decide whether or not we want to be patriotic.”

Listen to additional conversations about patriotism by turning in to The Hauenstein Center Collection podcast, available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify .  


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