Yes, there are a lot of things wrong with our country, but that can be said about any country. It's that people thing! We have our share of rotten apples. But for this one day, I'd like to ignore all that and just concentrate on the brave and the good.
I grew up in the generation where everyone's dad was a World War II vet and many of my friends' grandfathers fought in World War I. My generation lost some of our brightest and best in Vietnam. Our children are coming home maimed in body and spirit from the Middle East wars. I'm proud of the men and women who have or who are fighting to keep democracy a viable option in the world.
Though I honor those who died for our country, today I'd like to salute those who are living for our country; those who get involved in the fight for freedom by volunteering at school, filling sandbags, making hygiene kits, standing so someone else can sit on the bus or train, who return a lost wallet or cell phone, pay their taxes, who pick up the pieces and rebuild when disaster strikes, put a quarter in the Salvation Army pot, speak up for right, cast informed votes, hug a child, serve on juries, obey the speed limit, hold open a door, and simply go about the business of supporting their families emotionally and financially. That flag stands for all of you.
We tend to think of our nation's flag in terms of military honor, but it's much more than that. That flag represents the farmer watering his grain, the baker dipping doughnuts, the clerk at the store, the teacher in our child's classroom, the legislator on the hill, the highway patrolman ticketing a speeder, the delivery man bringing a package, the engineer designing a bridge, the reporter chasing a story, the factory worker, the used car salesman, the plumber, the doctor, the waitress who brings our dinner, and all of the many other Americans who make up the fabric of this land.
That flag has meaning. It means there are millions of us who choose to be free, who want to be able to rise as far as our intelligence and hard work will take us, and who want to choose who we will follow or to be the leader. It means we can choose Who or What to worship--or to not worship. That flag stands for freedom and we need to be very careful not to trivialize it or all it stands for. Take time today to repeat the Pledge of Allegiance or if you never learned it, today would be a good time to memorize it or at least read through it.
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, and with justice for all.