Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I Respect the Flag

I know I may be in the minority on this one, but I think one of the best moments of the upcoming Super Bowl is the presentation of the colors at the beginning of the game. When the large flag is unfurled across the playing field and the bearers start the flag waving, I am proud to be a part of this great nation.

For me the flag is not just a piece of cloth; it is a story.

The story began with a group of forward-thinking individuals declaring "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

That declaration brought forth a new nation, one secured through the sacrifices of brave men and women who were willing to die for the cause. The flag they fought under was a symbol of freedom, a rallying point for the masses, a sign of hope.

Soon the nation would once again be tested by war, this time with enemy forces burning the capitol. As the collapse of our emerging nation looked certain at the battle of Baltimore, George Armistead, commander of Fort McHenry, ordered "a flag so large that the British would have no difficulty seeing it from a distance." This flag was still flying after the enemy's 25-hour bombardment, ensuring the survival of our nation, and inspiring -- ultimately -- our national anthem.

This nation has been tested in battle many times over the years. It is still being served by our troops in harm's way.

But the cloth is not just the story of a nation and the testing of battles; it is also a beacon for freedom.

The flag declares to the world that those who live under its shadow are free people, endowed with certain rights and responsibilities. That is a statement I find inspiring, comforting and hopeful.

I will continue to thrill when I see a giant flag unfurled on a football field. I will stand for the national anthem and salute with my hand over my heart. I will stand and salute the flag when it passes in front of me in parades. I will stand at attention when the flag is presented and when the flag is withdrawn.

I will respect the flag. And I will do so gladly.

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