by Carolyn Trower

“It’s just a flag.” A line from a protester when questioned about his participation in a flag burning protest. Just a flag? Really, that’s your defense. That may be why so many people, of all ages and backgrounds, are so callous toward anything to do with our nation. Too many people have forgotten their history; forgotten just what that flag represents.
So, when I see a flag flying in front of a house and it’s faded, or torn, or hanging in strips, I get upset. I have too many ties to the military and too many family members who bear the scars of warfare.
I doubt anyone, regardless of their politics or pedigree, is happy with the way the country has been run all the time. It’s too big and too diverse to satisfy everyone. If there had been recordings at Philadelphia when the committee was hammering out the Constitution, doubtless there were a few arguments and choice words during the process. And so it goes, all the way to the present. Unfortunately, today’s argumentative process of hammering out differences in those hallowed chambers is televised and dissected before a conclusion can be made.
This Fourth of July, flags are everywhere. They grace street posts lining thousands of small-town Main Streets. They are held aloft in parades marching down city streets and adorn the stages of patriotic tributes across the nation. To see the American flag ripple in the breeze or held high by a soldier or Boy Scout should make everyone swell with pride.
I don’t care what anyone says, America is still the greatest country in the world. We’re going through a trying time, but the steel of our backbone was forged in the fires of a revolution. And as frustrating as some of our countrymen can be at times, the American spirit is still in each and every one of us. Buried deep in some, a mere remnant in others, but it’s there.
For those who moan and gnash their teeth and tell us the end is near, I refer you to Charlie Daniels’ anthem, “In America.”
“Well the eagle’s been flying slow, and the flag’s been flying low,
and a lotta people sayin’ that America’s fixin’ to fall…
This lady may have stumbled, but she ain’t never fell,
And if the Russians don’t believe that, they can all go straight to h***.
We’re gonna’ put her feet back on the path of righteousness and then
God bless America again…
‘Cause we’ll all stick together, and you can take that to the bank
That’s the cowboys and the hippies, and the rebels and the yanks…”
I think Daniels echoes the optimism most Americans feel. The song was written years ago, but it’s curious how some of the lyrics still apply to the current storm in political circles today. A lot of people make it very plain how they feel about the issues of our times; immigration, the environment, health care, and family stability among others. A lot of people keep their feelings to themselves. And I think Daniels speaks for them.
Fly the flag or don’t, speak up or remain silent; it’s your choice. But remember where that choice came from, and at what cost.