Ah, the American Flag……Who would have ever dreamed it could be such a hot-button issue? Do you stand, or are you a kneeler? It seems our country has drawn some invisible lines, and we are all being asked to choose a side. Recently, the million dollar babies (that’s my new name for them) decided to ignite controversy by taking a knee. The debate that followed has been a passionate one from both sides.
Recently I saw a post in one of my local homeschooling groups about this very issue. The member had posted a blurb, complete with a hot-button warning, about why they would never force the Pledge of Allegiance upon their children. He went on to say that they would not make a spectacle of themselves for not standing for the anthem, but would not recite the Pledge of Allegiance. He wouldn’t prohibit them, once they were older, but made it clear that he certainly wouldn’t encourage it. The responses surprised me. He was not alone in his thoughts.
Anyone that knows me personally will tell you that I don’t do well with hot-button issues. I am generally a “keep the peace” kind of girl. However, my fingers itched to type out a response to this one. Then I stopped to think, and I wondered what made his view of the flag so different from mine. It was then that it hit me, and I realized where the disconnect was.
We see two different flags.
Oh, I don’t mean physically. I’m sure all the people taking a knee see the same red, white, and blue that I do. I don’t think they see polka dots, where I see stripes. I mean their views of what the flag stands for are different from mine. The kneeling all stems from protesting some social injustice….racism, government control, whatever the issue of the day is. I however, have never looked at the flag and thought about prejudice in America. The President has never been the first thought to pop into my head during the National Anthem. I have never thought about the poor state of our country when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. No, my view of the flag is quite different.
What do I see when I see the flag?
- I see our forefathers, who struggled and fought, to make this country free.
- I see the Vietnam Wall, the one that stretches for almost 500 feet, and contains the names of 58,272 soldiers who died in battle.
- I remember being a child, standing in Arlington Cemetery, watching the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Then looking out over 624 acres of land that holds the bodies of 400,000 members of the Armed Forces.
- I think back to the day I watched Twin Towers fall on TV. Then I consider the courage, strength, and hope that followed in the days after.
- I see the Statue of Liberty, standing her vigil in the harbor. She’s ready to welcome the tired, poor, huddling masses, from all around the world. People eager for a chance to chase the American Dream.
- I see a mom, watching her only son board a bus to boot camp, all the while knowing that he could be called to die for you.
- I see a wife being handed a folded flag at a graveside, while her two young children cling to her legs.
- I think of all the military bases, (here & around the world) that house men AND women of ALL different races. Men & women away from their homes and families, so they can protect you.
- I see my husband, a United States Army Veteran, and his fierce love for our flag.
- I see my children, who have an opportunity to make America a better place.
- I see the best of America.
I also see a nation where you have the freedom to kneel during our National Anthem, or refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
I suppose where you see the government, I see the people. Where you see the tyranny, the racism, and the oppression; I see the hope, the strength, and the opportunity.
So sit if you must.
After all, it’s your right. As for us, we will stand. Not for racism, not for a government, and not even for a piece of cloth. We will be standing for the people willing to give their lives, so that we can live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
How about you? Will you stand? If so, why?