Posted by: guinness222 | November 30, 2010

“The Flag, …doesn’t anyone remember?”

       Back in 1964 (prehistoric I know!) I joined the United States Navy. I spent FIVE years “before the mast” as it was, doing my duty for my country, The United States of America. Not only did I offer my “services” , such as they were at that time, but I  knew full well that MY obligation was to protect, defend, and support our Constitution, and the American way of life. I learned a lot in the first months of being in “the service”, I learned that “history” was not just a subject in school, …but a reality that allowed our lives to be the way they are today. I learned, not just in a school way, (“there will be a test on this Friday, so pay attention”), but in a deep and meaningful real way,…that I was defending this great country and our way of life, not just for me, but for those who have died before me, those who live today, and those who will defend my rights as I get older and can not do it myself anymore. That my friends is a brief definition of the theory of patriotism!

        Among those great truths I learned that our flag, “Old Glory” was the visible, and concrete manifestation of all the blood and patriots that went before me to obtain and maintain our freedom and the remarkable “mighty experiment” of American Democracy. As I learned that I also learned our flag was not just some “cloth” sewn together into a pretty pattern, but that it had the intrinsic components of our country woven into it,…RED for the blood that was spilled, from back then in 1776 to today and tomorrow, and next year, and in the decades to come as tangible proof of our beliefs. WHITE for the hope we all have for the perpetuity, and goodness which we have achieved and continued since Betsy Ross put the Flag together, and BLUE for the faith and confidence that we all hold “to be self evident” that all men are created equal, and to each and every human being comes the opportunity to achieve “the Dream” of America, from it’s earliest struggles to the futures we can only imagine, and will never live to see. The stars representing the 50 different States that make up our union, and the total image of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” granted to us by our founding fathers.

        So why as I left my home this morning to make a routine trip to the bank, was I confronted with the sight of a ripped, tattered, and totally faded United States Flag, hanging in front of a local strip mall down the road? Does no one else realize, or remember the sanctity and sacred promise of that piece of fabric? Has it been so cheapened that no one cares any more? Well I DO!!

       I stopped at this mall and went into the federal office that was in the mall, and set up  to handle the numerous claims from local businesses and folks who have suffered losses in jobs, income, and business from the disastrous oil spill we just had in the Gulf of Mexico, courtesy of BP oil. There was a County Sheriff on duty, (guess they figured some folks may get “cranky” over things) and I asked him,”Excuse me, I am a veteran of this country , and I am extremely offended by both the condition of the flag flying out in front of this property, and the total disregard and disrespect for it that it has not been taken down and replaced. Who can I talk to in order to fix this?”

       The answer, “Ahhh, I don’t know, maybe the guy who owns the center, but I don’t know who it is. It is looking a little shabby.”

      So I call a friend of mine who has a business in that strip mall, to get the name of the owner, so I can call him personally. He gives it to me, and I call, several times I am on a “could you hold on, I gotta handle this, I’ll get right back to ya'”. I hold on, and between “hold on a minute’s” I ultimately get my point across, “Look, I am a Veteran, and I am offended that the flag of my country, the flag I fought to defend, the flag that represents the freedoms we all enjoy, is in tatters, ripped, torn, and looking like a defeated foe, and is  flying in front of this mall as we speak.”

        “Hey, I don’t own the flag, or the flagpole”, I’m told,”,….I really don’t know who does, maybe one of those Veterans organizations downtown can tell you, but I don’t own it an I’m not responsible for it. I can’t tell you any more than that. Oh the lady that owns the barber shop was bitchin’ about it too, maybe she found out who owns it.”

       I stopped by her shop to thank her for her action and see if she was having better luck than I was over this matter. She wasn’t there, so I took her card and will try and call her.

       If someone has that little respect, or is that ignorant of the flag etiquette defined by the Congress og this country years ago, I wonder how ignorant and uncaring they are about their own rights and freedoms. I wonder how much they care that their children and family has the freedoms and the ability to grow and be free. I wonder if they were ever in the service, or were just “hangin’ out.

         I am a firm believer that EVERY single American man and woman should serve in the Armed Forces of their country for at least two years, or a quasi-military unit to assist those in need of health services, food, jobs, and the basic fundamental things we need to ensure the progression of not just the country, but all the individuals as well, to rise above servitude and be a real part of the American Dream.

       A flag means a lot, it’s not just a piece of fabric.

-30-

      “Heaven itself has ordained the right.”    – George Washington


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