What's more patriotic – symbols or civic actions?

Sean Keady, 11, Marvin Ridge Middle School, Waxhaw: A patriot either loves his or her country, supports his or her country, defends the ideals of his or her country, or all of the above. He or she can show patriotism by wearing flag pins, saying the pledge of allegiance, doing community service and by joining the military. Joining the armed forces and doing community service are the best ways to show patriotism. Flag pins are important but how much does a flag pin do to help your country?

Mary Lyle, 14, home-schooled, Charlotte:You don't have to wear patriotic symbols to be patriotic but it is a way to show patriotism. Being involved in civic activities is another way but it is not necessary to do either to be patriotic. The most important way we should show our patriotism is by supporting our troops. They need to know we appreciate what they are doing. We owe our freedom to the brave men and women who are willing to sacrifice everything for us.

Manal Mahmoud, 15, Myers Park High, Charlotte: Someone shows patriotism by doing something active in your community. If you feel strongly about your country, or community, why not help to make it a better place? . Some people feel that symbols mean something special or are important. Both show signs of patriotism. Besides, if someone really is a patriot, then they would be prepared to serve their country or community. But how many people would be willing to do anything for their country?

Scott Harkey, 17, Clover High, Clover, S.C.: There is a difference between a symbol and a showing [of patriotism]. Remember the old saying, actions speak louder than words. Joining the military is the biggest symbol of patriotism, showing the willingness to give your life for a idea, place, or way of life. That is the ultimate showing of pride. Symbols are important and needed, yes, but not all acts of patriotism are the same.