Every rocket scientist and brain surgeon in the world knows that the Flag of The United States of America is simply a rectangular piece of fabric, patterned with the basic colors of red, white, and blue. But then, there are rocket scientists and brain surgeons who understand that our Flag represents something much more. It is an object, not held in reverence for its own sake, but as a symbol of a noble struggle ultimately won through sacrifice, vision, and resolve.
Perhaps many of you will recognize this text:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, 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.”
Of course, it is a snippet from the Declaration of Independence, which for all intents and purposes gave birth to these United States of America. Just signing that document was a brave and fearless act. They knew what the response from England would likely be, yet they were resolved on behalf of those early colonists.
The freedoms enjoyed by citizens of The United States were paid for with the property and blood of many. Freedom has a price, and it has been unselfishly paid over these past 229 years. Even as I write these words, that horrible but honorable transaction continues.
Many have argued that true freedom means we are free to respect the Flag or not. To those people, all I really have to say is that such choices define our character. Such choices demonstrate our ability, or lack thereof, to identify with those to whom we are indebted. To identify with those who gave up ALL of their own freedoms, to ensure that this country would remain viable and ensure that hard won freedoms would be preserved for all to come.
The Flag is not about individual freedom. We do not worship the Flag, and it is not holy or sacred in a religious sense. The Flag of the United States of America, gives all people a common focal point. It gives the idea of freedom a physical form. Our Flag binds us to freedom as a people, and that symbol gives hope to people throughout the world, who have not yet broken their own tyrannical bindings.
Have a Happy Flag Day… as I leave you with a few more historical words to ponder.
Pledge of Allegiance
"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 Star Spangled Banner
Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro' the night that our Flag was still there. O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Copyright ©2005, Phil Harris - All Rights Reserved