It’s Flag Day here in the USA. What does that mean? It is the day that commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. It was officially proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 and officially signed into law by President Truman in 1949. (33 years!)
As Americans, we should be proud of what our flag represents…freedom. We can chose to fly the flag or not. (I would if I could find our flag. It has disappeared. My husband claims he moved it from where we had it because it wasn’t a good place to store it. So it put it someplace safe. We have yet to discover where that place might be!) When it comes to the flag, we need to remember that it represents freedom. As Americans we are not FORCED to put up the flag or even salute it. It is a choice. And we have that choice because we are a country that allows individual freedoms; although some might debate that.
I believe in respecting the flag and what it stands for. It is my belief that our flag represents our freedom and the ideals that our founding fathers established in the Declaration of Independence:
“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.
But let’s be honest. Even 242 years later we are STILL working towards these self-evident truths. That even as we pledge our allegiance to the flag that our country is not always “indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”
At this point in history, I feel as our country is very divisible and I KNOW that there is NOT liberty and justice for ALL. But I believe that as a nation we NEED to keep working towards that goal. We have made great strides, but we have also taken steps back.
There are those who may not fly the flag or may “disrespect” it. (What or how the “disrespect” is, I’ll leave to your interpretation.) That does NOT make them “Bad Americans.” They are exerting their right. While I may disagree with them (or maybe I don’t), the more important thing is that rather than be angry or offended to open a dialogue. Why is that person doing it? Are they making a statement? Are they just angry and/or frustrated? Or, are they just a jerk? You’ll never know the answer, until you ask the question.
We need to question. We need to converse. We need to try to understand and maybe even respect (gasp!) the other person’s point of view. For me the American flag stands for freedom; for someone else it may represent injustices that still exist in this land that proclaims liberty and justice for all.
Today, fly the flag. Be proud of our country. We have come a LONG way since June 14, 1777! But also recognize that we still have a long way to go to truly have liberty and justice for ALL.
Beth Shorten is a life-long resident of Verona. For five years, she has been chronicling life here on her personal site, Bfth’s Boring Blog.