Have you thought about what the American Flag means?
What it symbolizes? Have you taught your children the history of the American Flag?
Today the flag consists of thirteen horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with 6 white. The stripes represent the original 13 Colonies; the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well: Red symbolizes Hardiness and Valor, White symbolizes Purity and Innocence and Blue represents Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice.
I often think of how our flag grew into what it is today. It is so much more than 3 colors or a decoration. Think of the areas around the globe that our flag has flown, think of the transformation it has underwent throughout the decades on our own shores. It is truly humbling to think of all that was given and sacrificed so that our flag, the American flag, can fly freely across this nation.
I recently spoke with a number of veterans from several different eras and asked if they would share what the American flag means to them. I’m honored to share their words with you.
Army Veteran - A Way of Life that many will never experience, and too many forget how precious it is.
Army Veteran – Our flag is the symbol of the things we as Americans hold in our hearts and minds. The power to guard and protect loved ones, homes, beliefs, and Americans in general; deserving or not. The Stars and Stripes mean this is the United States of America, WE ARE! Having the privilege to serve this country in the US Army gave me the opportunity to show the love I have for this country, and the pride we have in defending it.
Army Veteran – The best way I can describe what the flag means to me is to have every American close their eyes and really listen to Lee Greenwood’s song God Bless the USA.
Navy Veteran - Because I know of veterans who sacrificed it all, I believe in the American Flag. However, I do fight the bad decisions that others may make that affects our men and women in uniform wearing the American flag. Like we walk in our faith, we must remain vigilant in honoring what America stands for or once stood for... we still have freedom of religion and not Sharia like laws.
Marine – The American flag represents what I spent four years of my life doing, which is protecting that flag and our way of life. It means home to me; so protecting our flag means protecting my home.
There are days you just don’t think about all that has been given for this country. I am guilty of that as I am sure you are as well. And then there are those days that you see the American flag waving in the wind, with a bright blue sky as the back drop and it is the perfect picture. The colors so vibrant, the sound as the wind moves the flag to and fro. There are days it stirs something within my heart; pride, respect and at times awe, knowing what so many have given and continue to give for this country. It is that feeling that we as Americans need to remember. The “awe” of what has been given for us. The honor that needs to be given for those to protect, honor and defend our country.
Can you imagine the feeling the Marines had placing the flag upon that mount so long ago?
What of those firemen hoisting the flag at Ground Zero? What of the countless times people have viewed the flag during conflicted times and it provided a sense of hope when all hope seemed lost?
The American flag is a symbol not only of hardiness, valor, purity, innocence, vigilance, perseverance and Justice; it is a symbol of freedom. Freedom that has been fought so hard for over the decades. Freedom that has cost this country and the families within so much, and yet it is still a beacon to those wishing they had the freedom that our country has.
Give to me one good reason that the flag should not be freely flown or given the pledge to? Offending someone? That is not a good enough reason. I am offended each day by things that take place within this country and I do not cry out “I am offended! You have to stop all you believe in because you are offending me.”
I am born and raised an American, I speak English, and the symbol of my country is the American Flag. That flag will fly freely in my yard and should fly freely in any yard or in front of any building across this country. Too many have fought and died for this country and what the flag represents. To NOT fly it freely is and would be a disgrace to all those who have fought for and protected our country throughout the years.
This is America and our symbol is the American Flag. This honorable symbol has been shot at, burned, spit upon and stomped on, and yet she rises again and again. Let us all, as Americans, hold the respect that is due, not only to our flag, our symbol of freedom, but to all of those who have given their lives and time defending her.
May God bless America and those who defend her.
Kim Lengling is an author and co-chair of Project Support Our Troops and co-founder of Embracing Our Veterans. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or embracingourveterans.org