Come together Friday to honor the flag, and thus, the American ideal

David Peck

If there is one thing we can all agree upon in our currently divided country, or ought to, at least, it is respect for the American flag. The flag is not just a piece of cloth to represent a government or a nation, it represents an ideal, an ideal our founding fathers strongly believed in at the dawn of our nation, an ideal our nation has rallied around time and time again over the course of history.

That’s why members of our armed forces fight for their country. They aren’t fighting just for a particular government or even a country in the general sense. They fight for that ideal, a principle of freedom, equality, fairness, justice and, as our Declaration of Independence stated, the “unalienable rights” of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The flag is a perfect symbol of that ideal. As the National Flag Foundation puts it, “Intertwined within the threads of red, white, and blue lies a story of a country and its people. The American Flag not only acts as a symbol of our great nation’s freedom, but it is a representation of our country’s citizens and their history. Old Glory is the thread that binds us all together.”

Even if we vehemently disagree with our leaders, politicians and the decisions they make, we must believe in that ideal if we are to hold our nation together, and the flag, battered as she may be, is the representation of that principle.

Some wish to disrespect the flag by tearing, stomping on or burning the flag in a disrespectful manner, and that is their right, but our flag is strong enough to take it as we must all be strong to stand up for the ideals and the moral principles she represents.

We can feel angry and aggrieved at the current state of affairs, but if we cannot at least agree on the basic foundation of this great nation, how can we have any hope? Will we simply spiral downward as we mutter and whine, sitting at our keyboards?

Our community has always been, and remains to this day, a patriotic community. Our grateful citizens honor those who have served on Veterans Day and those who made the ultimate sacrifice on Memorial Day. Our Lovell High School gym and our senior citizens center is packed for ceremonies on Veterans Day, and people gather by the dozens at local cemeteries for Memorial Day.

We suggest that our citizens add one important event to their calendar, the annual American flag retirement ceremony held on Flag Day by members of Robert Boyd Stewart American Legion Post 11. In a solemn and moving ceremony a flag is carefully cut, the 13 stripes removed one by one, and burned, each stripe holding special significance.

The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. Friday at the downtown veterans memorial park, and it will take less than an hour. It’s an hour well spent. Whatever our political persuasion, however we feel about the current administration or the past administration, even if we are angry at the the way “they” are operating, we must stand up for the ideals upon which America was founded, ideals we can honor by respecting the flag, the symbol of our nation.

Hope to see you Friday night. You will leave with a lump in your throat.

--David Peck