Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Where have all the flags gone?
Back a few years ago, you couldn't go anywhere, public or private with out seeing a flag. In the days after 9/11/2001, people slapped the American flag up in the most unlikely places.
Now you would be hard pressed to find a flag anywhere. Where did they go? When did we stop displaying our pride in America? When did we decide that it wasn't important anymore?
One woman told me she quit displaying her flag when we sent soldiers to Iraq. Why? What does an unpopular war have to do with patriotism? Does it make our country less desirable? Does it mean that our support of the men and women in our military is less important? Our demonstration of our lack of faith in our country (not political party!) will do the terrorists job for them. They sowed the seeds of division and a bumper crop bloomed.
You see, when I was growing up, we were proud of our country. Were there things that needed to be fixed? Of course. Were we involved in a stupid war? Heck, yes. Was there violence and rioting? Without doubt. But that didn't mean that we weren't proud of our country.
We said the pledge every morning in school. We stood at attention when the flag went by. Men removed their hats. People were quiet in respect. It grieves me when I watch the beginning of a ball game such as the one yesterday and the camera pans across people chatting, or scratching their privates, or slouching in their seats. I want to shake them and say, "Wake up! This is your flag and your national anthem! Show respect!"
It seems that we've confused the conditions--economic and political--with the place. The United States of America. Regardless of our economic woes, most of us wouldn't want to live anywhere else. We aren't the only place in the world dealing with poverty, war, or stupid politicians.
I think it's a symptom of the general malaise in our country. When we fail to take ownership, when we fail to vote or write to our congressman about issues, when we don't stand up to be counted, then we fail all those who have struggled in the past to keep our country free. We fail those who worked so that we have the freedom to vote or worship as we choose or live where we please.
Pride in our country begins with each one of us--individually--demonstrating how we feel. Maybe we should dig around and find that flag--the one we dumped in the closet or a drawer. Dust it off and display it with pride. It's my country and yours, a place that people have fought, died and sacrificed to keep free.
What about you? What does America mean to you?