I did something today that I should have done a long time ago (no I took a bath last month!). I put up an American flag in the front of our house. Not the least amazing thing about it was the fact that the flag was not made in Hung Chow, China . . . it was made right here in the good ol’ US of A. I bought it at a well known national discount retailer for less than ten dollars and I have to say that it is a well made flag.
I did it in honor of Memorial Day and I plan to fly it on June 14th, July 4th, Labor Day and Veterans Day to mention just a few. Memorial Day is a day in which we honor all of those individuals, male and female, black and white, Christian, Jew and Muslim, of all ethnic backgrounds who have died in service to our country in the military (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day).
Erecting the flag reminded me of the week after 9/11 when the only flag that I could find was one that was about 9 feet wide by 20 feet long. I erected that one as best I could in the front of our house in Texas. I didn’t think the neighbors would mind. But before I did though, I went to the internet to see if I could find a website on “American flag protocol”. And sure enough I did ( see http://www.usa-flag-site.org/etiquette.shtml ). As with all internet searches, there are numerous websites devoted to the care and handling of our national symbol of honor and freedom, so I picked the one that I thought best suited my needs.
I bring this up not only because it is Memorial day 2011, but because I believe that it is a good thing to revisit a part of our heritage that sometimes seems to be either forgotten or ignored. The American flag, by federal law, is to be handled, displayed, and properly disposed of when no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country. I know many of us learned about the flag in school, the Boy/Girl Scouts and military, but many not have or just plain forgot about it.
To those who have served and died, we owe a debt of gratitude and I think it is best described in the following poem by Major Kelly Strong USAF:
I watched the flag pass by one day It fluttered in the breeze A young soldier saluted it, and then He stood at ease
I looked at him in uniform So young, so tall, so proud With hair cut square and eyes alert He’d stand out in any crowd
I thought how many men like him Had fallen through the years How many died on foreign soil? How many mothers’ tears?
How many Pilots’ planes shot down? How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves? No – Freedom isn’t free
I heard the sound of taps one night, When everything was still I listened to the bugler play And felt a sudden chill
I wondered just how many times That Taps had meant “Amen” When a flag had draped a coffin Of a brother or a friend
I thought of all the children, Of the mothers and the wives, Of fathers, sons and husbands With interrupted lives
I thought about a graveyard at the Bottom of the sea Of unmarked graves in Arlington. No – Freedom isn’t free!
Have a happy and safe Memorial day. Thanks for stopping by cONTEMPORARY mUSINGS.
CREDITS: Freedom Isn’t Free – http://www.ellenbailey.com/poems/ellen_104.htm, Photo – www.freefoto.com, others as cited above. FREEDOM – Those, living and dead, who have fought to keep this country free.
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