I do not have children, but I do have a two year old niece who loves to play with her Uncle Mark. Several weeks ago, my niece had become fascinated with flags, and would point them out anytime she saw one. The flag she became most fascinated with is the American flag. Recently, as she came for a visit, we sat on the front porch where I gave her a hand-held American flag, which I keep near my computer. As she waved the flag, I asked her the colors on it, to which she answered: red, white, and blue. I then asked what shape covered the blue part, to which she answered: stars. I then told her there are fifty stars for all fifty states. I told her to never let the flag touch the ground, and to always take care of it. As I watched her wave the flag, I thought about the things I will teach her, about that flag, when she gets older.
This flag was adopted by a Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, in the midst of a war to liberate thirteen individual colonies from a tyrannical British government. This flag was carried proudly as men fought for the idea of freedom without the guarantee of success. Once victory was achieved and America was free, this flag flew as a constitution based on government by, of, and for, the people was written, and a capital was built.
Years later in 1812, as the British returned to test the resolve of this young American Nation, this flag was carried by the sons of the Revolutionary War veterans. During the war, as the British Navy bombarded Fort McHenry with rockets of red glare and bombs that burst into air, a lawyer named Francis Scott Key kept watch, through the night, until dawn’s early light to witness this flag was still waving. And when the British were again defeated, this Flag flew proudly over a land of the free home of a brave nation.
This flag also saw dark times, as the nation was divided between: those who forsook the ideas of liberty to hold fellow human beings in bondage, and those who wanted all to be free. The flag was witness to: states warring with states, brother fighting brother, and blood-soaked fields named Bull Run, Antietam, and Gettysburg. But none as dark as the day this flag was draped over the coffin of the murdered president who saved the Union and freed the bonded.
This flag, which witnessed the growth of a nation from ocean to ocean, was needed on foreign lands to save those oppressed by a tyrannical dictator -who wanted nothing less than world domination. This flag was carried from the beaches of France, through Belgium, and to the heart of Germany, where it set a continent free. On the other side of the world, this flag was raised from island to island as an Empire, which destroyed ships flying this flag, was beaten-back and defeated.
This flag which freed hundreds of millions from tyranny and oppression, and welcomed the tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to be free, upon the shores of the greatest Republic the world has ever known.
This flag which was planted proudly on the moon in the greatest achievement in human history.
This flag which honors the graves of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defending freedom and liberty.
This flag which will always wave over the land of the free, and the home of the brave.
Later that evening, my niece saw the flag, she had earlier waved, rolled-up sitting next to me. She asked, “Uncle Mark is the flag sleeping?” I replied, “Yes baby, the flag is sleeping.” She then asked, “Is the flag happy?” I replied, “Yes baby, the flag is very happy.”
This flag, our flag stands for everything good about the America, wave it triumphantly and proudly on this Flag Day.