June 15, 2015
By Bob Cox
Some opinions, comments and links relating to what is happening in this great nation and, in particular, in Western Colorado.
Sunday I participated in the observance of Flag Day at the Montrose Elks Lodge. While some expressed disappointment over the relatively few people that showed up to experience the history of our flag, I was a little more optimistic because I knew I was speaking to patriots when I gave the Response. That handful of people gathered on the lawn west of the building are the people who we must turn to if we are going to re-ignite the enthusiasm that our founding fathers had nearly 240 years ago.
The local Boy Scout Troop professionally posted the flags of our history, beginning with the Pine Tree Flag, on the deck of the building. Those scouts are the men of our future and, as they stood and saluted our flag, I knew that all is not lost. We can bring this nation back to its greatness. We can forge leaders with the fire of patriotism.
As part of the response I quoted President Woodrow Wilson, who as an Elk and, at the request of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, set aside June 14 of each year to recognize the symbol of our nation – the Stars and Stripes of the American Flag. Wilson said something that we need to take to heart today:
“This flag, which we honor and under which we serve, is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and shape of this nation. It has no other character than that which we give from generation to generation. The choice is ours.”
Two things resonate for me in that quote. First, that the flag is an emblem. Every act of bravery on the battle field, every time we place the flag on our porches and every time we stand up and salute that flag while The Star Spangled Banner is played, we are recognizing the flag as an emblem of who we really are. Secondly, that we must make a choice to give our beliefs and the “character” of that symbol to the next generation.
To me that means making sure that the Pledge of Allegiance is recited in every school, every day and that the young people reciting that pledge be made to understand just exactly what they are pledging their allegiance to. We must make an example of our willingness to fight for our flag, not only as soldiers and sailors and marines, but also as everyday citizens. We must refuse to sign covenant agreements that preclude the flying of the flag on the front of our homes. We must ignore those who do not have the mental capacity to understand that they can stomp on the flag only because someone else held that flag high and marched into battle.
The Elks Lodge gives every person initiated into the order a small American Flag as a memento of the initiation. Maybe it is time we adopted that practice in the schools of America and gave every graduating senior a flag and a message as to what that flag represents.
Our flag, just a symbol, but what a mighty symbol is has been, and what a mighty symbol it will continue to be if we make the choice to give its legacy “…from generation to generation.”
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© Robert R. Cox 2015