The Fourth of July is coming up soon, so let’s talk patriotism. Defined as an emotional attachment to a nation, patriotism — or being patriotic — is really a two-way street. Some things that may seem patriotic, like putting on an American flag t-shirt, are really just superficial unless there’s a real emotional connection and feeling of pride while wearing it. Also, it’s just a piece of clothing with a flag on it, and doesn’t possess the meaning that a true flag holds. (Of course there are some who think that putting Old Glory on a tee is more insult than affection, and there are rules regarding its use on clothing and in other non-traditional contexts.)
Likewise, some locations that make people think of America — say, the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, or the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta — don’t actually hold patriotic significance in regard to this country (even if they are vivid symbols of our nation), and that’s what we tried to avoid in this list. What we’re really looking for are places that are historically significant, historically patriotic, and also make people feel patriotic themselves while visiting.
Because of this, not all the locations are obvious or popular. They might be underappreciated but meaningful locations that deserve more attention. Then again, others are very obvious and popular, and can even be a bit cliché — which is perfectly fine, as long as there’s a good reason behind this.
As far as which location in each state is the most patriotic, that can get a bit tricky. Anyone who had watched a presidential debate knows that trying to quantify patriotism can get ugly quickly. Although a lot of Americans can be passive about the topic, many consider patriotism to be a civic duty, and failure to fulfil your responsibilities is basically treason. Of course, this article (or the decisions that led up to it) isn’t a competition, because each state has numerous worthy entries to this list. Instead, it’s really a travel guide of 50 of the can’t-miss destinations all across America, and a solid starting point for any and every patriotic journey around this great land. Give each place a chance, and we’re certain you’ll get that warm, fuzzy, red-blooded American feeling — even if you’re visiting from abroad.