How patriotic are you? If you are my age, probably very patriotic, but if you are of the millennial generation or an older member of Gen-Z, probably not so much.

For 21 years an ongoing Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey has been tracking which values were most important to everyday Americans. When the survey first began the majority stated that “principles of hard work, patriotism, commitment to religion and the goal of having children” were critical issues. Cue Bob Dyland, because "the times they are a-changin."

Wall Street Journal reporter Chad Day says, “Today, hard work remains atop the list, but the shares of Americans listing the other three values have fallen substantially." The share of those saying patriotism is“very important” fell nine percent, religion dropped 12 percent and having children fell by 16 percent.

Day says a generation gap is noticeable in the current survey results, at least as it applies to the importance of patriotism: “Among people 55 and older, for example, nearly 80 percent said patriotism was very important, compared with 42 percent of those ages 18-38 — the millennial generation and older members of Gen-Z."

Day says the most recent survey also shows some interesting political trends: “In fact, the views of Democrats over age 50 were more in line with those of younger Republicans than with younger members of their own party. In addition to differences in personal values, the poll lays out how the country has divided along partisan lines on many other views of society.”

Some analysts believe the declining importance of patriotism in society indicates a growing desire among young people for socialism. Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity blames academia. "In other words, far-left professors they seem to sadly be achieving their goal of indoctrinating our young kids into their socialist radical beliefs," Hannity said.

The fact that younger generations are feeling less patriotic is certainly not a good thing. We've stopped teaching younger folks what it means to be an American. Either we've become lazy, jaded or somehow spoiled into forgetting just what an exceptional nation America is and have lost sight of the sacrifices of previous generations.

Because so many have given so much, it has become easy to take the promise of America for granted. The American journey is far from over but unless we teach our children about America's great history and to have pride in what America stands for, we will lose our way.

People from all over the globe risk everything to come to America. They are attracted by our way of life which includes an extraordinary love of country and devout patriotism. The future of America depends upon our commitment to rededicating ourselves to teaching future generations about what being an American means.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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