Tuesday, June 14

Does her banner yet wave...........................

Today, in addition to the ‘birthday’ of the United States Army (of which I served as a MP (Combat) 95B), it is the United States of America’s celebration of the adoption of its flag.

On June 14th, 1777, Congress adopted by resolution the design credited to Betsy Ross, though there is some uncertainty who designed the first flag; "Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation." In 1916, President Wilson issued a proclamation declaring June 14th officially Flag Day. It is not a recognized federal holiday.

Today, throughout the social media on the internet, Flag Day notifications abounded with the one simple question being asked…..

”What does the flag mean to you?”

What does the flag mean to me?

It stands as a symbol of a sacred trust; from the earliest of those colonists who ventured forth upon the sea to find a country where they could worship as God-fearing, Christian followers to those who are embattled today under the guise of ‘tolerance for all.’ It is a symbol of a multitude of personalities and desires that have been woven by the stitches of patriots and dedicated free men and women who wanted not a dictatorship or a monarchy but a land where the brightest and noblest of the country stood in positions of power and authority over all for the common good of all but who were bound tighter than the strongest chains to the phrase “of the People, for the People, by the People.”

It is a piece of cloth or nylon, true, that is burned in foreign lands and even sometimes its own but it never disappears, never fails to rise above the tempest of the storm that may engulf its people as a beacon of an idea formed so long ago.

It is young; a flag that was developed when there were only thirteen colonies and has grown to fifty states. It has been torn apart once in its history when the citizens themselves pitted themselves against each other because of a way of life that needed to be abolished.

It stands as a rally cry over the sorrows of Pearl Harbor and of Europe, has seen action in the Halls of Montezuma all the way to the shores of Tripoli, and has come to the aid of many older nations in their times of need borne on the shoulders of sailors, merchant marines, airmen, marines and soldiers. It has fallen in the jungles of Vietnam and stands in a land divided by a DMZ in Korea. It has seen its young trample on its stripes in protest and endured the sorrow of misuse and abuse throughout its young life. It has gone to Kuwait and Iraq, seen war in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf.

It is the last symbol of a nation I served when I leave this earth that will adorn my coffin.

We saw American flags flying from windows, antennas and flag poles freshly impaled into the lawns across this land after 9-11 and saw even more rallying to the ‘flag’ by joining the Armed Forces to ‘give some back.’ I didn’t see very many flags flying today…..neither from the window mounts of vehicles flying down the highways and byways to work, home, family and ‘things.’

We see the flag-draped coffins of our service members who have given the ultimate sacrifice, whom we just paid homage to on Memorial Day, coming from the transports that bring them home to their native or adoptive land. We see citizen-lined streets ‘escorting’ our fallen heroes to their final resting place in hearses carrying those coffins with the crisp, clean flag adorning their souls.

But that isn’t what the flag is supposed to mean; a simple nod to those who have sacrificed on its nations behalf or to nationally mourn a terrorist attack on our home soil.

It is a symbol of a land that dared dream of a Republic of government, where freemen and women would lead their peers into a bright and promising future. It was built on the foundations of Christian beliefs, even as it refuses to allow that to be forced as a requirement for its benefits. It is recognized as a nation that will defend itself and the downtrodden at great sacrifice to itself because of those freedoms and a nation who will answer the call when it must. It is fifty-two stars, thirteen stripes and bleeds red, white and blue.

I am the Flag
by Ruth Apperson Rous

I am the flag of the United States of America.

I was born on June 14, 1777, in Philadelphia.

There the Continental Congress adopted my stars and stripes as the national flag.

My thirteen stripes alternating red and white, with a union of thirteen white stars in a field of blue, represented a new constellation, a new nation dedicated to the personal and religious liberty of mankind.

Today fifty stars signal from my union, one for each of the fifty sovereign states in the greatest constitutional republic the world has ever known.
My colors symbolize the patriotic ideals and spiritual qualities of the citizens of my country.

My red stripes proclaim the fearless courage and integrity of American men and boys and the self-sacrifice and devotion of American mothers and daughters.

My white stripes stand for liberty and equality for all.

My blue is the blue of heaven, loyalty, and faith.

I represent these eternal principles: liberty, justice, and humanity.

I embody American freedom: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press, and the sanctity of the home.

I typify that indomitable spirit of determination brought to my land by Christopher Columbus and by all my forefathers - the Pilgrims, Puritans, settlers at James town and Plymouth.

I am as old as my nation.

I am a living symbol of my nation's law: the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.

I voice Abraham Lincoln's philosophy: "A government of the people, by the people, for the people."

I stand guard over my nation's schools, the seedbed of good citizenship and true patriotism.

I am displayed in every schoolroom throughout my nation; every schoolyard has a flag pole for my display.

Daily thousands upon thousands of boys and girls pledge their allegiance to me and my country.

I have my own law—Public Law 829, "The Flag Code" - which definitely states my correct use and display for all occasions and situations.

I have my special day, Flag Day. June 14 is set aside to honor my birth.

Americans, I am the sacred emblem of your country. I symbolize your birthright, your heritage of liberty purchased with blood and sorrow.

I am your title deed of freedom, which is yours to enjoy and hold in trust for posterity.

If you fail to keep this sacred trust inviolate, if I am nullified and destroyed, you and your children will become slaves to dictators and despots.

Eternal vigilance is your price of freedom.

As you see me silhouetted against the peaceful skies of my country, remind yourself that I am the flag of your country, that I stand for what you are - no more, no less.

Guard me well, lest your freedom perish from the earth.

Dedicate your lives to those principles for which I stand: "One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

I was created in freedom. I made my first appearance in a battle for human liberty.

God grant that I may spend eternity in my "land of the free and the home of the brave" and that I shall ever be known as "Old Glory," the flag of the United States of America.

It is a symbol of what we, as American citizens have forgotten….the sacred trust of all the generations before who have walked, lived, died and bled for this land called America that has been handed down generation to generation for preservation and prosperity of the freedoms that were once guaranteed by its Constitution and enforced with patriotism by its elected statesmen and women. A nation who wasn’t formed by God but because of His mercies and who’s Constitution bore the hope of generations.

Unfortunately, as you look back on this day and remark about the absence of the flags that would have once flown from neighborhoods far and wide across its land, it is becoming a too vivid symbol of what we Americans are, no more- no less. A nation of forgotten ideals and dusty traditions destroyed by those who have forgotten the sacred trust we were forever to be vigilant with; the title of freedom and the principle of liberty that has been corrupted by those who would be dictators and despots by our elections and our sleeping at the helm of accountability.

The flag, that once stood for the American Dream, and still flies above the land that once bore such extreme hopes now lies limp in the heavy skies of intolerance and liberalized despots who ignore the laws and control the citizenry. Who allow those who are not of native birth sell its heritage bit by bit and piece by piece to the highest bidder in the pack of wolves that have always hounded its shores. Whose politicians have become the elite; controlled by no laws and governed by no accountability and who enslave a people who are fearful of defending the nation that “Old Glory” once flew so proudly over.

It flies tonight over the land “of the free and the home of the brave” though the land lies in eternal shadow and the brave have quietly shut their doors against the raging storms where freedom is no longer what it was because of the weariness of the patriots who once guarded its health.

And though it is dark throughout the land of the American people and the wind howls through the barren landscape as if to cry out “Where have all the brave ones gone?”, there is a beacon of hope still fluttering in the lamps of generations that have come and gone disturbed by the whispers of patriots yet unborn in the history of this land.

And it may be soiled and sullied, frayed at the edges and bear the marks of a war silently fought. But as Frances Keys Scott once put down into words on a page……..

“Does that banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

It does if we chose to make it so.

So when you see “Old Glory” flying somewhere in the course of your day, stop and reflect on the freedoms that you still enjoy, the process by which you can ensure those freedoms continue for your children and the men and women who serve under its gentle breeze to give you that right to do so.

Regain the sacred trust once a heartbeat of the citizens of this nation.

And recapture that “indomitable spirit of determination” it stands for.

The American Flag.

What does it mean to you?

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