Letter to the Editor: The American flag an opportunity to celebrate our country

Published 6:49 pm Friday, June 17, 2022

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On June 14, Just this Tuesday, was a very special holiday: Flag Day. Now, Flag Day does not have the same long weekend status as Presidents Day, nor does it enjoy the same Federal Holiday status as the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving Day. You likely didn’t experience the barrage of advertising promoting a Flag Day sale on a mattress, dining room set, new car, or holiday ham. There is a good chance that Flag Day passed you by like any other Tuesday.

The acknowledgment of the fact that Flag Day more than likely passed by unnoticed is a sad truth of our age. The date on the calendar and its status as holiday or not is not the issue here: it’s the respect and recognition of the flag — as a banner and as a profound symbol that prompts this essay.

The flag of the United States is one of the most prominent and recognized symbols around the world. The flag does its primary job of acting as a banner, noting government buildings, worn on uniforms of public safety personnel, the lapels of politicians, declaring the origin country for ships on the seas and even ships floating through space. The United States flag does all the things that other flags do.

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The flag of the United States has, from the first time it was sewn, conveyed a much larger sense of ideal and identity. The US flag has represented first, a country founded on principles of self-determination, self-government, and consent of the governed. The flag first embodied the principles found in the Declaration of Independence such that “all men are created equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights.”

Later the flag stood for such things as the liberation of oppressed peoples overseas, the sovereignty of an independent United States, the dignity of enslaved peoples, and a nation that has continued to make itself freer, fairer, more just, and a government that has striven to provide a higher standard of living for its citizens for over 200 years. The flag not only has represented its country, but has been a beacon of freedom and hope for countless millions who flocked to the shores of the United States looking for opportunity that only could be found in the shadow of the Stars and Stripes.

Flag Day is an excellent opportunity to remember the United States and all that is represented by the red, white, and blue. Flag Day, from its inception in 1916, more importantly, is an opportunity for us as inheritors of a priceless heritage, to recognize and honor those who have protected the flag from all her enemies and the United States from all her foes. The flag is the beacon of an over 200 year legacy of sacrifice and service by brave servicemen and women who have followed the flag into the unknown in defense of all that it stands for.

You may not have taken note of Flag Day on Tuesday — but hopefully you took note of the flag. As you move throughout your day — and the next 300 plus days until next June 14, take note of the flag and all that is stands for. Do your part to carry on the legacy of liberty and justice for all. Remember to honor our flag and all that it stands for: long may she wave.

Nick McGrath

Austin, MN