A soliloquy from the flag of the United States of America
|Hi. You probably know me – I’m famous throughout the world as a symbol of hope and freedom. My name is Old Glory. That’s right, the flag of the United States of America.
Yes, I am a flag. But really, I am so much more than that. Like the country that I represent, I am viewed by many people around the world as the essence of liberty. Sure, there are people in the world who despise me, because they hate America. They spit upon me, they trample me, and they burn me. Fortunately, there are many who admire America. Those who love America love me, too. They are proud of me and they treat me with great respect.
I have been around a long time. I was there when America was born. Of course, like everything on this planet, I look much different now than I did many years ago. For the most part, though, I have always been a conglomeration of stars and stripes – red, white, and blue. And although my designs have varied, the intent has not. I was always meant to represent the unification of the many states and people that make up this great nation. Even after the South seceded from the Union at the beginning of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln would not allow any stars to be removed from my field. It remained intact, as did the United States. Today my field contains fifty stars, one for each of the states in this grand country.
These days I can be found flying high and proud atop the White House and the Capitol Building in Washington, but also at practically every school, schoolroom, government building, post office, church, and sports stadium in the land. You can see me atop flagpoles at people's homes, or hanging from stands over their doorways. You can see me driving by on many vehicles, and on the uniforms of those people who have dedicated their lives to serving and protecting us all. I am even standing proud on the moon!
And yes, during these dark days of terrorism and hatred, I am still flying high in places outside the USA. I am aloft over American embassies in many foreign lands, both friendly and unfriendly.
I also travel with the many American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who risk their lives to make our country and our world a better and safer place in which to live. These brave men and women have sworn to uphold and protect the very ideals that I represent. They carry me into battle with them. And if one should fall during combat, another is quick to pick me up and resume the march. I have seen many ugly conflicts in my time, but also many heroic events. I have been hoisted in victory after battle, both as a symbol of America’s might and the freedom that was won or preserved.
I am also there to escort fallen heroes home. In honor and reverence to those who gave their lives fighting for me, for America, and all that we are, I am lovingly placed upon the caskets of those who perished in battle. There I remain until the last note of “Taps” has been blown from the bugle, whereupon I am removed and gently folded, so that I can be presented to the heroes’ loved ones. I am not meant to replace them; I am to serve only as a reminder of that for which these brave people gave their lives.
These days I find myself performing this duty more and more often. Make no mistake, though - I do it willingly and in honor of those who fought for me. I will never forsake them. But if I had my choice, I would much prefer to be flying high from a flagpole at their home as they gaze up at me admiringly, alive and far from war.
So as you can see, there is a great deal of history and honor in my background. I am so much more than just a piece of sewn cloth. I love the United States of America and all that for which she stands, just as I love the citizens that make up the USA. Please return the favor: fly me proudly whenever you get the chance. And thank those who fought, and continue to fight, for that right to do so.