A Flag Day Refresher: Are You Still True to the Red, White and Blue?
The American flag is known everywhere from the surface of the moon, the gold medal stand at the Olympics, as well as to places of military victory and political leadership. But why does it matter, and who should care?
In recent years, we’ve heard those who have asked, “Why all this trouble over a piece of cloth?” These words have even been attributed to people in positions of substantial prominence in the American context.
The answers are compellingly clear if you ask a certain subset of Americans.
Some will say “these colors don’t run.” Here the words are a play on words from the clothing business, where colors might run when they’re washed. But for those who use it for the flag, they are remembering that heroism and historic Americanism go hand-in-hand. The greatest iconic image of this is the flag-raising monument, taken from an actual photograph of American soldiers putting a flagpole upright in the midst of the horrendous World War II battle at Iwo Jima.
Others cannot help but think of the flag as the shroud of honor and glory that covers a casket for a fallen comrade. A flag-draped coffin reminds us that freedom is not free and that many have given the ultimate sacrifice to preserve all that the flag represents.
Still others thrill to the colors as honored at the National Anthem as a powerful voice echoes the great words of Francis Scott Key: “Oh say does that banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” It is an important question to ask as patriotism seems to be ridiculed, diminished, and suppressed by interests of globalism, anti-Americanism or just plain historical amnesia.
I want to remind us of one of the first things our Founding Fathers did. On June 14, 1777, they gave us our American flag with its three colors of red, white and blue. These colors were selected because of heraldry, a historically recognized way of capturing virtues and values by coats of arms for noble families and nations.
Are you aware of what red, white, and blue meant when our nation began? In their minutes, the Founders were explicit as to what they wanted their new national banner and its colors to represent. Red proclaimed hardiness and valor. This meant a courageous people who were sturdy and strong, and would stand for what they believed.
White stood for innocence and purity. Innocence meant no violation of the law, and purity meant moral integrity from the inside out. How absent those values seem to be in our day!
Blue represented perseverance, vigilance and justice. Perseverance called for continuing to pursue a goal even when difficult, even when it required suffering. Vigilance intended continuing steadily on one’s watch to assure that what was valued was safe and secure. Justice was defined as making certain that everyone got their due.
As we think about blue, representing the last of the three values on our flag, how do we measure up? Are we becoming a nation of quitters? Are we giving up when things are hard? Are we committed to pursuing difficult goals because they’re worthy and right?
It has been well said, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Are we watching carefully with regard to national integrity and strength to preserve our nation’s longevity? Are we aware of the rise of powers that seek to harm us, replace us, or even destroy us?
And when it comes to justice, have we replaced justice, which is each getting his legal rights, with some notion of Marxist “social justice”? Social justice is the idea of compelling people to redistribute wealth for an undefined equality that is impossible to achieve in a broken world. Social justice is a fabrication of Marxist ideology.
Justice, however, is making sure that everyone is equal before the law and under the Constitution. The quality of justice in this historic sense means that we must labor to give everyone a fair standing under the law so they might have equal opportunity to pursue their aspirations and honorable goals for their lives.
As we conclude, look again at that Star-Spangled Banner, as it waves in the wind, drapes a coffin, is folded in a triangle and given to a grieving spouse, or wafts boldly and proudly over an athletic event or political venue. Are these seven moral qualities woven into the colors of our flag also blazoned upon your heart?
Are we people of hardiness and valor? Are each of us pursuing the moral quest to be pure and innocent before God and man?
As we face the difficulties of life, family, state or nation, are we persevering toward goals that are right?
Are you, through political, military, familial or patriotic duty, on guard to preserve the freedom and liberty bequeathed to us by our Founders?
Finally, are we committed to doing what is just and right under the law of God and man?
Meditate on these things. Remember that for most of the history of America, the Red, White and Blue have stirred aspiration, engendered inspiration, and deepened patriotism.
Are you still true to the Red, White and Blue? Maybe it’s time for a Flag Day refresher!