An American Patriot is traditionally thought of as one who fights and dies for -- and loves -- their country. America's Founding Fathers were American patriots: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, James Madison, the signers of the Declaration of Independence were American patriots. Many of our great conservative presidents, Abraham Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan were American patriots. A number of American Patriots were politicians and legislatures. Among these was conservative Democrat Congressman Larry McDonald, the only U.S. sitting congressman reported killed by the Soviets when they shot down KAL 007.
The American Patriots Association sums up the term patriot very well: "You do not have to be a President to be an American patriot. One of the greatest American patriots in modern times was the Rev. Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. who was a leader in the Civil Rights movement. Those soldiers who served our nation during two World Wars, during the Korean War, during the Vietnam War, during the Cold War, in all our nation's struggles were patriots. Women who have struggled for equal rights are also American patriots. One of these would be Rosa Parks who refused to give up her seat, an action which sparked the Montgomery bus boycott, she like Susan B. Anthony, was a patriot."
"What do all these American patriots have in common? What belief and values qualify them as American patriots? Perhaps it is the fact they love their country, they honor the American flag and the Republic for which it stands, and they believe in the ideal of liberty and justice for all."
"This then is the single most determining quality engendered by all American patriots, love for their country, love for these United States of America, respect for the American flag and the Republic for which it stands. What this really means given we are one people, a nation, is that an American patriot expresses their feeling of brotherhood, their bond and love for each other as one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all."
An American patriot is then anyone who loves their country. When that love is expressed through works, deeds or acts which contribute to those ideals which they cherish and upon which our great nation is founded and built, then we have acts of patriotism, then we have an American Patriot whose actions build upon that foundation of liberty our nation's founding fathers laid."