"The Middle" star Atticus Shaffer is one American who is proud to display the red, white and blue, and he is encouraging other young people to do the same.
"I'm a big advocate for the military," Shaffer tells FOX411 in this exclusive interview. "I appreciate what they do. I understand what they've gone through and the fact that they are going and putting themselves in these dangerous situations. It's to protect our country. It's to protect our freedoms and the liberties that we have here that are not available everywhere else."
Having been born with type IV osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease), Shaffer isn't able to enlist in the military, so he took the opportunity to serve when he was asked to sign on as the celebrity ambassador for the Boot Campaign's Patriot League pilot program. The campaign is a a free, national, K-12 curriculum, empowering teachers to promote patriotism and community service.
"Teachers adopt the curriculum based on their students' grade level," says Shaffer. "What it does is it teaches patriotism in the classroom to the younger generation. It can be anything from what it means to have a Declaration of Independence or a Constitution, the principles and the values that this country was founded on, up to what it truly mean to be a patriot."
In addition to his work on behalf of the Boot Campaign's Patriot League, Shaffer is back to work in his role as Brick, the youngest child on ABC's "The Middle," which premieres its seventh season on Wednesday, Sept. 23. And Shaffer realizes how lucky he is to be on a successful sitcom.
"I think it's the fact that it's so relatable," he says. "We amp things up and make it even more comical than it was originally, but what's so cool about it is the fact that it's a show that is taking real world situations, and applying them to the Hecks. Even if it seems a little bit over the top, when we've had those same situations happen to us, that's how we remember it in our head."
When "The Middle" returns, Brick will still have the same girlfriend he had last year, which is good news, and as the only child left at home now that his brother [Charlie McDermott] and sister [Eden Sher] are off to college, he has a chance to have more of a relationship with his parents [Patrica Heaton and Neil Flynn]. Plus he's maturing emotionally and physically.
"He's understanding things more," Shaffer says. "He's becoming a little bit more aware, so situations in the past that may not have bothered him, he's starting to realize the depth of them."
Even so, Shaffer enjoys playing a character as eccentric as Brick.
"I think the best part about Brick is the fact that he shows it's okay to be unique," Shaffer says. "He shows it's okay to be your own person. It's nice to be able to play a character that gives out that message."
So which of Brick's many quirks is Shaffer's favorite?
"I love the whispering and whooping," he says.
"The Middle" returns to ABC for its seventh season on Wednesday, Sept. 23.