Our Flag, How to Honor it!

 


What do you think of when you see the flag of the United States of America? What feelings does it conjure? Does it bring to mind any specific memories? What does it mean to our country? The United States flag represents so much of what America means, and its symbolism runs deep in its history. One of the main reasons we honor the flag is to pay respect to our country and the liberties that we enjoy here, which means paying respect to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.  The flag represents the freedom, dignity, and true meaning of being an American. It is a living piece of history and a source of pride and unity for all Americans. The Flag is a mirror, reflecting to each person his own ideals and dreams. It is history. It is a ribbon of honor for those who have served it well—in peace and war. It is a warning not to detour from the long road that has brought our country and its people to prosperity and happiness. Since Saturday is the Fourth of July, I thought I would share some information about our American flag.


Some people call me, the flag, Old Glory. Others call me the Star-Spangled Banner, but whatever you call me, I am your flag, the flag of the United States of America. I used to be honored but am I still honored today? We are here today because men and women in the early days of our country fought for the freedoms so many take for granted. Our ancestors fought for the ideals of freedom and liberty. The flag is a mirror, reflecting the ideals and dreams of each person here today. It should be a mark of pride in a great word—the word “American”.


I don’t feel as proud as I used to. When I pass by do you stand and salute or just stand there with your hands in your pocket? Do I get a glance, then you look away or do some of you take a knee?  People don’t seem to know who I am. Is it a sin to be patriotic? Have you forgotten what I stand for and where I’ve been? Remember Anzio, Normandy, Omaha Beach, Guadalcanal, Korea, the jungles of Vietnam, the sand of Afghanistan and Kuwait.  Look at the names of those who never came back in order to keep this nation free. When you salute me, you are actually saluting them.


Americans by the millions pledge their allegiance to our flag. Do we understand the true meaning of these words or is it just some kind of meaningless verbiage?
The author of the Pledge of the Allegiance was Frances Bellamy, a Baptist minister in Little Falls, New York. The pledge was first used on October 21, 1892.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands. One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”


The following information is taken from the Americanism Education League, Freedom Center, Buena Park, CA. Now let’s examine the text of the pledge to our Flag:


I Pledge Allegiance…..that is, I promise to be true. This signifies national sovereignty, not world government. It means we will not take our freedom for granted.


….to the Flag of the United States…. Our flag is something visible and tangible, representing our country to its people and to the rest of the world. Here is the historic definition as laid down by the Continental Congress in 1777: “White signifies purity and innocence. Red: hardiness and valor. Blue: vigilance, perseverance and justice.” The stripes represent the original 13 Colonies and the stars represent the 50 states of the Union.


…..and to the Republic for which it stands….Our United States Constitution has given us a Republican form of government as distinct from a Democracy. The main difference between a republic and a democracy is the form by which the people are represented. In a pure democracy I speak for myself, you speak for yourself.


…..One nation under God… the Founders of our Republic firmly believed and openly proclaimed that man’s basic rights to life, liberty and property are God-given rights, and not the grant of government. Our Nation began as a government of laws, not of men.


…..indivisible…. we are a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States. It consists of the national government, 50 state governments, and thousands of local governments chartered under those state governments.


…..with Liberty and Justice for all….. Liberty is personal and internal; freedom is external and has to do with society in general.  Justice, according to Noah Webster, is the “virtue which consists in giving to everyone what is his due.” This definition calls for both law and equity. Laws are the rules we live by day after day. Equity is fair play for all.


Well, the Fourth of July is nearly here so, when you see me, stand straight, place your hand over your heart. I’ll salute you by waving back. And I will know you remembered me.