Got patriotism? Not in Illinois, WalletHub ranking claims

Got patriotism? Not in Illinois, WalletHub ranking claims

WalletHub just ranked U.S. states for patriotism and put Illinois at No. 45. Voter turnout, number of veterans and volunteerism were among the measures used to rate Illinois so low.

Illinois is one of the least patriotic places in the U.S., according to a ranking by WalletHub.

Illinois placed 45th in the finance website’s new ranking of states by patriotism. WalletHub calculated a “patriotism score” by weighting aspects of military engagement and civic engagement to find which “Americans have the most red, white and blue pride.” Montana ranked No. 1. New York was No. 50.

Illinois ranked 39th in military engagement. Military engagement included factors such as average military enlistees, average active-duty military personnel and veterans per capita.

Illinois placed 36th in civic engagement. Civic engagement consisted of factors such as voter turnout, jury duty participation, Peace Corp membership, AmeriCorps activity and volunteers per capita.

Despite Illinois’s low “patriotism score,” many patriots call Illinois home.

The final act of Chicago-born Pfc. Milton Olive was to throw his body on a grenade, saving the lives of four other soldiers. For his sacrifice, Olive became the first Black American to win the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hayley Orlinsky, a Chicago school girl, made and sold bracelets to raise $50,000 for Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital. “I overheard that doctors and nurses at hospitals who are treating coronavirus patients need masks!” said the young Illinoisan. “I wanted to help.”

And Illinois is the Land of Lincoln, setting a public service standard that continued through Adlai Stevenson II, Everett Dirksen and Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama.

One of the experts WalletHub contacted about the results was Illinois State University education Asst. Prof. Benjamin R. Wellenreiter. He said patriotism is like any committed relationship, involving loyalty, communication, growth and sometimes challenging the relationship so it grows.

“As with other committed relationships, a patriotic person is engaged, works to learn more about their country, serves it in many different ways, and – when problems arise – address those problems in productive, proactive ways,” Wellenreiter said.

Whether WalletHub got it right or wrong about Illinois, there are plenty of ways to show patriotism. Independence Day is a good time to think about boosting our scores.

Wellenreiter’s point about challenging the relationship would be a good place to start, possibly by scrolling through and finding something to contact someone in Springfield about.

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