Sunday, June 14, 2015

I Am the Flag

On this date in 1777, the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia as a war between the (former) colonies and the British Empire raged, adopted the flag of our United States of America.

In the ensuing two hundred and thirty-eight years, almost countless wars but an even larger number of joyful and joyous moments, we have a flag with thirteen alternating red and white stripes and fifty stars representing each of our states (even the ones that don't like each other very much) on a field of blue.

I spent eight years on active duty in the Air Force thousands of miles from home and daily ceremonies involving the raising and lowering of our flag were part of my day. So sometimes I get a little cranky (actually, I get a LOT cranky) when pinheads and politicians of all stripes wrap themselves in the same flag under which three people whom I knew while in uniform died. Yeah, weird, it was peacetime and airmen, marines, sailors and soldiers still die. If that surprises you, glad I could help expand your college of knowledge.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but take it to heart. Our flag is a symbol of our nation, the use of the indefinite article deliberate. It is nothing more than strips of cloth sewn in a particular pattern.

Too often for reasons that say much more about us as a people than we should like, it is made in countries far away where what we have and complain about is the subject of aspirations and dreams by those toiling in sweatshops to make it.

We, the people of the United States of America, all of us are our flag. No matter the color, the religion, the gender, the politics (or lack of any or all of the preceding), we are, each of us, our own flag. And today is as good a day as any, and better than most, to start acting like it.
-bill kenny

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