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July 7, 2005

'It's about being an American'

Chronicle Correspondent

David Bancroft's feelings of patriotism have inspired him to create a Web site about his country.

USA Patriotism! has an extensive collection of creative writing along with tributes to patriots; art and photos; reference materials; polls; music; articles; real life stories; and a discussion forum.

Bancroft, 52, and a Jersey Village resident, launched the site in May 2002.

"When 9-11 took place, the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and the plane, the heroes in Pennsylvania, my son was in the Marines," Bancroft said.

He knew it was likely his son, Michael Bancroft, would be deployed to the Middle East.

"The idea was to express my support and patriotism," Bancroft said.

So the self-employed business consultant put his marketing background to work and designed USA Patriotism!

He continues to maintain the site, which receives contributions from citizens and service people from throughout the world.

"You never will see anything political there," Bancroft said. "It's not about Democrats, Republicans, conservatives or liberals. It's about being an American."

Michael, now 27, served in Iraq from January to August, 2003. He was one of the lead mechanics with the United States Marine Corps' 5th Regiment.

Later, Michael spent six months helping with training maneuvers in South America. Today he is a student at Cy-Fair College.

Bancroft, who never thought of himself as a creative writer, has written a number of poems about his son and Michael's fellow troops for the Web site.

He wrote one of them, Brave Young, after Michael described a close call in Iraq, when he felt the breeze of a sniper's bullet rush by his ear.

"They are our brave young
who should never go unsung;
are deserving of the utmost respect;
and, need every prayer asking God to protect,"
he wrote.

Bancroft said he wants the site to be a source of encouragement and comfort to others.

"I want something that will appeal to people, that will give them incentive to give back," he said."

The site, and Bancroft, has been a comfort, said Judy Gavette, a resident of Rochester Hills, Mich.

"David helped me through one of the most difficult times in my life, the death of my son in Iraq last year," Gavette said. "It was David and David alone who gave me the strength and support I needed to become whole again."

The site has had far-reaching effects, she said.

"David is a wonderful poet, and the poems he has shared with others, via USA Patriotism!, have helped many, even those not from America, learn the depth of the American spirit."

Vincent Forras, a disabled Ground Zero firefighter, met Bancroft through the site, too. Forras is the founder of Gear Up Foundation, a charity dedicated to memorializing 9-11 victims with good works.

"I believe that there is a Dave, a real patriot, in many more Americans that you may think," Forras said. "His heartfelt message touches my soul."

Long-time friend Joe Decker wrote a poem, Twin Towers, for the site.

"The written and visual impact of what David had done through his Web site was the perfect vehicle for Americans to express their deepest feelings to others about their country, its principles and its people," said Decker, a consultant for University of Houston.

His inspiration

Bancroft, who has never served in the military, said he has two dads who inspire him, in addition to his son.

His father, Arthur Bancroft, served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, and his father-in-law, Raymond Casserly, was in the USAF from World War II through the Vietnam War.

Ultimately, he said, he's proud of all of those serving the nation.

"Our troops are the best there are," he said. "They'll do whatever it takes so their fellow citizens can keep their freedoms."

Learn more about David Bancroft, Founder / Owner of USA Patriotism!

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