A Good Place For Us All to Live

This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.
~ Theodore Roosevelt

What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
Tis the star-spangled banner…
~Francis Scott Key – excerpt from the rarely sung second verse

I grew up with a flag pole in our front yard; the American flag was raised every morning by my WWII veteran father and lowered at dusk every evening. This was far more than a ritual for my father; he saw it as his obligation and privilege after the three years he spent as a Marine officer in the South Pacific. He had the freedom, as well as the necessity, to declare our hard-won liberty to any who passed by. The flag was his reminder, a tangible symbol of having fought beneath it, watching others shed blood and die for it.

My father was not one to weep – ever. But his eyes filled up when we visited the original The Star-Spangled banner in its display at the Smithsonian Institute in the 1960s, and again as we stood before the Iwo Jima Memorial Marine flag-raising sculpture. The fact the flag meant so much to him is impressed and imprinted upon me.

He would have been horrified at how the flag is currently misused as a symbol of “my patriotism is more true and pure than yours” — it was displayed like a talisman by the rioters who stormed the Capitol building on January 6, 2021. The American flag has been through many tough times since it was designed – during my lifetime it was burned as an expression of free speech and ignored when people are asked to recite “The Pledge of Allegiance.”

The flag now seems to be Exhibit A representing our deep divisions rather than our unity.

June 14 (Flag Day) no longer has the impact that it had over a century ago when it was first declared, observing the day in 1777 the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution to create a flag for the new United States. My mother, growing up in the isolation of the Palouse wheat farms in eastern Washington state, would reminisce about Depression-era Flag Day parades, picnics and celebrations in the small farming communities of Waverly and Fairfield. It was a mere warm up for the all-out patriotic gatherings planned for July 4 – indeed a community on display.

As I place our flag out on our porch today, I am honoring it as a symbol of a country which values the freedoms of all people.

May this banner fly proudly for many generations to come.
Here is the proof, through all the dark and contentious nights of our country’s history, that our flag is still here.

Let’s ensure this is a good place for all of us to live in.

The Star Spangled Banner – Smithsonian Institute
Iwo Jima monument – Arlington Cemetery


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One thought on “A Good Place For Us All to Live

  1. Thank you for the important reminder re Flag Day, dear Emily.
    I come from a Gaelic-Irish family of mid-19th Century
    immigrants who have always been proud of their
    ‘adopted’ country as they fled Ireland (with clothes on their
    backs and a few cooking utensils). We were and are
    extremely proud of Ireland and of our ancestors –
    many of whom were economically and politically forced to emigrate
    to America — as well as having their relatives and
    friends being secretly murdered and their bodies hidden
    for years in Irish and English jails during ‘the time of the troubles.’

    However, we soon added our allegiance to U.S.A.
    as our men served in the Civil War, WW1, WW2, Korea,
    Vietnam (including my 3 brothers who served as U.S. Marines
    in Korea and Vietnam)..

    Our Nation has amassed and is riven by many current serious legal and moral faults and injustices that have been legislated over the years by dis-ordered Congress’ elected leadership
    (through hatred, personal greed, and lust for power, that need to be eradicated,
    and/or amended immediately before we can proudly claim to honor the wording
    on our Statue of Liberty and the original intent of our Declaration of Independence, Constitution (and its amended Bill of Rights).
    These historical ‘building stones’ remind us of what our Nation should, can, and must be if we are to survive.

    The handwriting is, and has been, on the wall for decades. The insidious intent to dissolve our ‘Union,’ our Democracy, via devious and unlawful means is obvious – staring us in the face – as the murderous violence and hatred sweeps our country in unprecedented slaughter of innocent children and civilians. This portends what is to come as a means to achieve the intent of those who would destroy our Nation!

    So, this Flag Day 2022, despite the carnage and creeping despotism, and the often ‘behind
    the scenes’ of our government’s and industry’s giants hidden actions (oligarchies, et al),stealthy, persistent invasion of our Nation and its freedom through Democracy, I WILL proudly fly ‘Old Glory’ (‘ the ‘Stars and Stripes,’) my American Flag (presented to me at my Marine brother’s
    interment three years ago).
    For me, it still represents the unselfish heroic valor and dedication of those men and women who voluntarily offered their lives (and who live forever with the horrifying sights and sounds of the bloody carnage and death that still haunt their memories) We pay homage and gratitude to our cumulative Nation’s history and to those who contributed so mightily to it, and to .our public edifices to FREEDOM and JUSTICE FOR ALL, as a Nation PROUDLY ruled by the tenets of DEMOCRACY (as France’s Alexis de Tocqueville once called, ‘an experiment in freedom.’)

    Liked by 1 person

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