Respect in the Real World – Flag Day

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Today is Flag Day. It is also my mother’s 80th birthday. My “book club” friend’s birthday. Fifty plus years ago on this day I was a flower girl in my aunt’s and uncle’s wedding. A few years ago my nephew was wed to his true love on this day and they are expecting their first baby. And last but not least thirty-two years ago today, Bruce and I got married in a little white church in New Milford, NJ. Bruce’s mom had also said she would put the flag out the day he got married. Thus we picked Flag Day as our wedding day. That reason and  it was a week after the recital – can’t get married before a recital – too busy. In the days after September 11, 2001, there were flags flying everywhere. I remember commenting that Bruce would have loved seeing that.  I am grateful for the 21 years we shared and look forward to seeing him again when eternity comes.

I have been pondering the flag the last few days. Thinking about why I am so moved when I see the flag, thinking about what it stands for. I think for me it is a symbol of who we are 50 states made up of millions of people trying to live and thrive together. And we had a small beginning of only 13 colonies and people were willing to give their all so we could be the United States of America and some still give their lives for our freedoms. I am proud to be an American. I love my country. I am saddened that so many of my fellow citizens and non citizens are out of work and out of hope.

When you look at the rest of the world, we are a young nation. I remember being in England with my girls and there was a poster “rulers of Great Britain” going back thousands of years. I pointed to the last couple of inches on the bottom of the poster and commented “this is how long the USA has been around.” I think of the USA as a teenager. And teenagers think they know it all. Teenagers sometimes make impulsive choices and throw out traditions that they will miss as they get older. Teenagers don’t listen well to older and wiser counsel.  The teenage years don’t last for long and then the real world knocks at the door and you have to take care of yourself. The web site About.com Homeschooling states: “Called the “Stars and Stripes,” or “Old Glory,” the flag is one of the most complicated in the world. No other flag needs 64 pieces of fabric to make. The current flag has 13 red and white alternating stripes (representing the original 13 states) and 50 stars (each star represents one of the states of the Union) on a blue background.The American flag has also changed designs more than any other flag in the world.”  Sounds like us – complicated and changing. Happy Flag Day.

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