Has Old Glory Just Become Old?
This political year has been filled with more than its share of ups and downs. Perhaps one of the more striking spectacles has been the display of the Mexican flag and the burning of the American flag at American presidential rallies!
Our Supreme Court has determined that burning the flag and displaying objects that others may find questionable or distasteful are protected actions under the First Amendment. The question for me, however, is why do we display the flag anyway? As has been made clear over the decades, the flag means many different things to different people.
On this flag day, June 14, has the flag just become Old or is it still Old Glory to you? Does it symbolize the longing for freedom of countless immigrants who’ve come to our shores to be free from persecution? Does it still represent the sacrifice of heroes who “poured out their last full measure of strength” on behalf of others so that we might breathe free? Does it still represent the freest nation on earth with a system of government that provides for a peaceful transition of power because ballots have taken the place of bullets?
The flag is a display of the American Spirit. It reminds us of the liberty we share as a part of an extraordinary story of a nation that has fought to be free. Our country has liberated others, and has even established free societies in the rebuilding of our enemies who we vanquished having freed others who’d been enslaved.
Remember what those colors mean. According to the minutes of the Continental Congress, red stands for hardiness and valor. Blue stands for justice, vigilance and perseverance. And finally, white stands for purity and innocence. In giving these meanings to the colors, our founding fathers were following the historic European practice of heraldry.
The meetings are not accidental, but intentional. These truths are no longer taught, so it is time for us to rediscover and practice them.
Perhaps we should begin with each of us in our own lives, the next time we see the flag flying or displayed. Do we still possess the hardiness to defend freedom? Do we still have the valor that underscores the words in our national anthem that we are “the home of the brave”?
Are we committed to persevering in justice and not just seeking to be politically correct? Do we remember that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty? Are we now just about ready to give up because our political process is not everything we want it to be this time around? We’re called to persevere in our constitutional liberties.
And finally, each of us in our own way must remember our personal duties to pursue that which is right and that which is truly good, and so representing the purity and innocence of the white stripes on our flag.
So on this flag day, don’t let the flag just be old, or even just Old Glory. Instead, remember its colors and their historic meanings. Let the red white and blue reflect the glory of the unique calling that each of us has as Americans who have been so blessed by the commitment of our forefathers. They have given us unequaled and unparalleled freedom in a world most often characterized by tyranny and injustice.
Say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and pause and reflect. Remember that “liberty and justice for all” was woven into the fabric of the flag from its beginning on June 14, 1777.