Traits of a good citizen

The other day I heard news story about some organization giving away something and, when they ran out, people who had lined up for the “free stuff” became enraged about the short supply. At the end of the report, I remember the commentator sarcastically saying, “Well, that’s a good citizen.”

That caused me to flash back to elementary school where we were taught a good citizen does not litter. To this day I walk around town with trash in my pocket because I couldn’t readily locate a trash can until I returned home. The act of littering would have jeopardized my good citizen status in the world.

Then traits of a good citizen raced back into my mind: be honest and trustworthy, follow the rules, be respectful of others, take responsibility for your actions, salute the flag, and protect your environment (trash in my pocket).

It always seemed to me that being a good citizen is a selfless projection of what we “do,” not a constant anticipation of what “we deserve.” How about the simple act of counting our blessings and being grateful for a simple job, good health, family members both past and present, and the incredible opportunity of being a part of that noble experiment called America. One nation under God; not above Him.

Maybe other readers can reminisce about their own thoughts of “what makes a good citizen.” Mine is a sixth grade boy who was entrusted to be captain of the school safety patrol who supervised the raising and lowering of the flags everyday with a snappy salute, always mindful not to let the U.S. flag touch the ground.

I proudly fly one outside my home to this day and have a collection of former worn and weathered “Old Glory” that I respect too much to throw them away. Maybe a Boy Scout troop can assist.

W.J. Butcher


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