Millennials attending St. Francis College have mixed opinions about the current state of patriotism in the United States.

Patriotism in the U.S. has certainly wavered, particularly in recent events. This includes but is not limited to the refusal to stand up for the national anthem and the desecration of a 9/11 memorial. The biggest drop in patriotism is among millennials, defined by researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss as those born between the years of 1982 and 2004.

“To each their own. As long as no one is harmed there shouldn’t be a problem,” freshman Julia Culcasi told SFC Today.

Correspondingly, junior Alvin Sanchez did not have a problem with the situation either.

“It is their right not to stand. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion here, that’s what makes us different,” Sanchez said.

Jamie Medina – another student at SFC – has a completely different stance on the issue.

“Everyone’s saying they have the right to not stand, but they should have the dignity to support their country,” Medina told SFC Today.

A student who preferred to remain anonymous said that if anything, football players should be the ones standing for the anthem. Football has become the most popular sport in America, providing NFL players with nationwide fans and multi-million dollar salaries, which would not be possible for football players in another country.

“The country provides these football players food and shelter,” the student said. “Not only that, but they are making millions here and have the audacity to complain? The least they can do is stand up.”

Another anonymous student – who played football in high school – also believes football players should stand for the anthem.

“Every single person involved in the NFL, whether it be coaches, players, faculty, etc., should have mutual respect for one another as well as for this country,” he said.

Student Teodora Miljkovic agrees with the former student athlete.

“The NFL should reevaluate their sense of morality,” Miljkovic told SFC Today. “There are a lot of people who fight for freedom in this country so it is disrespectful not to stand.”

Junior Joe Stevens declared that he understood the message, but did not support it.

“I understand what they are trying to convey, but their tactic isn’t right, especially on 9/11,” Stevens said. “It is their freedom to do so, but the American flag symbolizes so much more than social injustice.”

The responses to the desecration of the 9/11 memorial were a little more mutual.

“There is too much discrimination against Muslims and blacks,” an anonymous student said. “Social injustice is still prevalent and to some who live here, this flag does not represent freedom.”

Others condemned the acts that lead to the shaming of victims and the destruction of a 9/11 memorial.

“9/11 happened to us without any provocation. Innocent people died and they deserve respect and decency,” Amy Bektashi said. “If you disagree with that and/or hate this country then leave.”

Culcasi said that the traumatic event cannot be ignored.

“9/11 shouldn’t be disregarded,” she said. “It was a serious traumatic event that took our trust away,”

Those in other regions of the country do not understand the impact 9/11 had on New Yorkers, Joe Stevens added.

Students had contrasting responses when asked whether or not they consider themselves patriotic.

“There are some things that the United States does that is unnecessary; we shouldn’t butt into the business of other nations,” senior Maryanne Santos told SFC Today. “That only gives them an opportunity to take advantage of us.”

Miljkovic does not consider herself patriotic because of the way certain things work in the U.S., but wouldn’t consider leaving.

“It’s hard for immigrants to attain citizenship,” Milkjkovic said. “Nevertheless, I am grateful to be here.”

However, Ada Portillo is patriotic because of the opportunities available in America.

“Always patriotic! There are great opportunities here, but people don’t realize it or they simply don’t know,” she said.

Freshman Karolina Fabislewska shared a similar view.

“I’m an immigrant and I am patriotic,” she said. “I am happy with the opportunities available here.”

Several students were upset with the fact that certain Americans are not proud of their country.

“The way people act towards our country in general is negative,” said a student who preferred to remain anonymous…”I holistically disagree with Americans who are not patriotic.”

Millennials attending St. Francis College harbor a variety of opinions. It is important to note that we are entitled to have our own opinions, but at the same time we must be tolerant of the opinions of others.

As Voltaire famously said, “I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it.”

If you are unhappy in the United States, it wouldn’t hurt to travel abroad and see the hardships that citizens of authoritarian countries and undeveloped nations face. It’s easy not to appreciate what’s in front of you when you haven’t been exposed to anything less.