Sunday, July 4, 2010

flag day

I meant to post this on Flag Day, when it actually happened, but I forgot.

So, close your eyes and pretend it is Flag Day...

As I was driving to work this morning, the radio announced that it was Flag Day. Well, the radio didn't announce it so much as the morning radio personality did, but you get the idea. It struck me that I don't even really know what Flag Day is. I mean, I can make a guess based on context clues (as Mr. Pedigo used to say), but nothing for sure.

So, just in case you were also wondering, it commemorates the day that the US flag was adopted, on June 14, 1777. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson made a proclamation that officially put this day on the calendar. Well, he didn't put June 14 on the was already there. He put Flag Day on the calendar.

It just so happened that I was running a bit late for work that day and parked in a meter spot that just so happened to be directly in front of the flag pole next to Samford Hall. As I got out of the car I noticed that the ROTC cadets were marching up to raise the flag for the day. For some reason it really captivated me. As far as they were concerned, no one was watching. They marched in a straight line up to the flag pole with their solemn faces and 90 degree turns. They did this out of requirement, out of duty and out of respect. I stood there for a few minutes watching and since that day have been thinking about the flag and what it means and patriotism in general.

I don't think I would label myself as patriotic. I definitely wouldn't label myself as unpatriotic. I don't wear red on 4th of July (or on a normal day - fiery coral maybe, but not red). I own no American Flag paraphernalia. And I don't want to put a boot in anyone's a$$ (thank you Toby Keith).

I consider myself to be a very objective person. So objectively, I can say that my country is not perfect. In general, I would say our flaws are arrogance and lack of perspective. Nothing is perfect, right?

But I can say that I'm proud to be an American (thank you Lee Greenwood). And I am thankful for the men and women who made/make it possible for me to live freely. The men and women who protect not only my rights as a citizen, but the human rights of people around the world. I am thankful for the soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines. I am thankful for the government officials who devote their lives. And I am thankful for the ordinary civilians who make bettering our world a priority.

I am thankful for the freedom to love my country while at the same time, wish for it to be better.

Now open your eyes.

It's not Flag Day anymore. It's July 4th.

For several years we celebrated the 4th with a cookout at my Uncle Sam's house. Yes, I have a real Uncle Sam - a retired Marine. We would have burgers and beans, volleyball and great conversation. Someone would yell "Whoa Nelly!" (inside joke). I miss my family today.

I am thankful to be part of this one nation under God. That's right Mrs. Brinkmann, there's no comma.

And I am hopeful for a future of liberty and justice for all.

1 comment:

  1. Ella! I forget how funny you are when we're apart for too long! and I feel the same way, I guess I consider myself semi-patriotic - lunch date soon??