Thursday, October 15, 2009

Our National Flag

Whenever I see our national flag, bright against the summer sky, two things come into my mind: a memory and a question.

The memory goes back to a little ceremony that took place every Fourth of July around the flagpole in my grandparents' front yard on Long Island, when I was a little girl of five or six or so.

Their house was right across the street from ours, so at the crack of dawn I'd dress hurriedly and race over to ring their doorbell. Fortunately, Grandpa was an early riser. Out he'd come carrying the neatly folded flag over his arm. At the pole, he'd untie ropes and fumble with different catches and pulley while I'd jump up and down, eager for what I considered the BIG moment.

Grandpa would give the rope a couple of test tugs. Then, with a nod in my direction, he'd begin to raise the flag.

"Oh, Columbia, the gem of the ocean," I'd sing out in my high, piping, child's voice, "the home of the brave and the free...."

Grandpa always joined in the chorus: "Three cheers for the red, white and blue," while a warm breeze gently blew the flag, now flying high at the top of the pole.

After that Grandpa and I would go into his kitchen where we'd eat cereal smothered with blueberries and cream while he told me stories about life in his native Germany and how he came to the United States when he was a young boy of 14. "I'm so grateful to God," Grandpa would say, "for the privilege of living in such a wonderful country. Always remember, Eleanor, how lucky you are..."

So that's the memory. And the question? It's this:

Does a person have to come from someplace else to appreciate... really appreciate... all that our country's flag stand for, all that it means?

I hope not.. I pray not.

Eleanor V. Sass

God of our fathers, give unto us, Thy servants, a true appreciation of our heritage, of great men and great deeds in the past, but let us not be intimidated by feelings of our own inadequacy for this troubled hour.

Remind us that the God they worshiped, and by whose help they laid the foundations of our Nation, is still able to help us uphold what they bequeathed and to give it new meanings.

Remind us that we are not called to fill the places of those who have gone, but to fill our own places, to do the work Thou hast laid before us, to do the right as Thou has given us to see the right, always to do the very best we can, and to leave the rest to Thee.

Peter Marshall

images courtesy of all posters


Maxine said...

This was wonderful, Mimi. The sentiments expressed by these people from times past should still be the sentiments of all of us today. Even more so. Thanks for posting this.

Dawn said...

Beautiful story! I would love to see more reverence for our flag in these trouble times.

Denise said...

Seems that the generations upcoming are not learning the great price paid for the freedom for them to dishonor our great nation and the flag that it flies.. Breaks my heart..

Cathy said...

A great story ~ We need more pride in our country these days. Thanks for the story and prayer.

Mary said...


A beautiful and heart touching post.

Wishing you a great weekend.

Mary said...

What a great story. People should honour the flag more. Here in Canada I find that most people do honour our flag. Have a great week....Mary

Denise said...

Wonder how you are? Just sending hugs!

Saija said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you & the fam!!!!