Patriotism was a living fire of unquestioned belief and purpose.
I love the imagery of struggle. I sometimes wish I were suffering in a good cause, or risking my life for the good of others, instead of just being a gravely endangered patient. Allow me to inform you, though, that when you sit in a room with a set of other finalists, and kindly people bring a huge transparent bag of poison and plug it into your arm, and you either read or don't read a book while the venom sack gradually empties itself into your system, the image of the ardent solider is the very last one that will occur to you. You feel swamped with passivity and impotence: dissolving in powerlessness like a sugar lump in water.
Ideas and philosophies have a shelf-life. They must be kept fresh and renewed or they will spoil. If left unattended, the same ideas and philosophies that once nourished you and helped you grow can poison you and make you sick. Become aware of new ideas that can refresh your way of life and be open to the fact that your old ideas and philosophies can work for you for some time, but when the shelf-life has passed, those ideas and philosophies could also harm you.