Thursday, October 30, 2014

Freeing the Flag . . . Old Glory is not just a flag -- it's a spiritual symbol of America the Free.

By Verne Strickland Oct. 30, 2014

Freeing the Flag

Many in my generation fly the American flag.  I hope it's not a dying tradition, although there are signs that is may be.

I'm 77, and the flag has always been a part of American life for me. Its history is dear to me. It flew over Fort McHenry, inspiring Francis Scott Key to write our National Anthem-- "The Star Spangled Banner." It was raised by our U.S. Marines over Mt. Suribachi during the desperate war in the Pacific. It was posted on the Moon in America's conquest of space.

And, for generations, it has flown in the yards of millions of American homes, where patriots wanted to thank those who fought for our freedoms, and saw the flag as a symbol of pride in the Greatest Nation.

I fit into the latter category. And though I never fought for my country in battle, I somehow feel close to those who have -- giving the last full measure of devotion.

At our home in Wilmington, North Carolina, as soon as we moved to our current address, we raised the American flag we had brought from our home downtown. We didn't feel that we had really moved in until it flew from a pole on the front of the garage.
We hung the flag at a 45-degree angle, which is how we like to display it. It waves jauntily in the beach breeze we feel here, and almost seems alive. Each morning from my home office window, I am cheered to see it. Its colors are bright and pure. To me it is our America, under God.
But from time to time, the flag is buffeted by higher winds, and by rain. The torrents and turbulence cause its folds to become snarled around the pole, where it seems unable to free itself. 
As soon as possible, I go out, reach up with my cane, and pull it down. Its sparkling stars and stripes, now unsnarled, fall gracefully, displaying their full beauty. I feel a palpable sense of relief when it waves free again. 

And I began to think -- this is the experience of the America that our flag represents. It waves smartly in a fair breeze, even snapping briskly when the wind pipes up. But it is not always this way. 
As trouble brews around the globe, and America's enemies seek to attack and destroy our nation, the flag, soaked by storm and torrent, may become wrapped and snarled around the pole from which it is suspended. It has not fallen, and will not -- but it requires attention -- defense, if you will and the tender hand of one who cares for it -- to fly again in its full glory. 

We Americans are called now to note what besets Old Glory and come quickly to her aid. Freeing the Flag is our God-Given Privilege and Duty. We must never fail her.

The Battle of Fort McHenry, Sept. 13, 1814.
The Battle of Fort McHenry, Sept. 13, 1814.

The original Star Spangled Banner.

The original Star Spangled Banner.