“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.”
Anyone who’s ever been to any elementary or secondary school in any of the 50 states knows that these words are the beginning of the Pledge of Allegiance to our nation’s flag. Though the look of Old Glory has changed since Congress authorized it as our nation’s official symbol on June 14, 1777, the American flag is still considered to be a symbol of strength, perseverance, equality, and so much more. School teacher Bernard John Cigrand felt that a flag such as the American flag deserved a celebration or recognition of some sort, so he deemed June 14 as the flag’s birthday and celebrated by having his students write essays on what the flag meant to them.
The idea caught on, and on August 3, 1949, President Truman signed an Act of Congress that officially made June 14 of each year our National Flag Day. Since our nation’s early days, many things have changed. Our founding Americans invented the word patriotism just for our country, but nowadays it’s not a word that’s often used or a feeling that’s often expressed.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my country and know for a fact that there is nowhere else on Earth like it, but I’m not blind and neither are Americans. Even though Emma Lazarus’ words on the Statue of Liberty read “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” it’s painfully obvious that we stopped living up to that and other promises years ago.
While I was at work one day, we had a bit of down time, so I asked everyone what the American flag meant to them. Some people said that it didn’t mean all that much while others felt very passionately about our stars and stripes. Though all the views were different, everyone agreed that the flag was a symbol of freedom and democracy, and they all would rather live under the dominion of America than any other country. Those who said that it didn’t mean much weren’t bashing the flag by any means, they were simply upset and concerned by the fact that America was founded upon immigrants and others seeking solitude; yet today people must go through hell and high water just to become a citizen of this Land of Opportunity.
Whether your ancestors came through Ellis Island, were brought against their will, or slid by INS, those who were at the bottom of the barrel could, did, and have attained countless triumphs since arriving here.
One of my coworkers is a military veteran and mother while her husband is still in active duty. Her passion for her country is unparalleled. She has the passion that Americans of the past once had. A passion that is rare these days, but certainly not uncommon. It seems that the average American either doesn’t care about our country or they have grievances and concerns that they’d like to or already have voiced about their nation; but still they do not want to be a citizen of any other country because they do realize America’s power. I believe that with the infinite amount of things that our country and its people have experienced since it broke from Great Britain, it’s understandable that some might not feel the fervor they used to, but we should never give up on our nation. How do you feel about your country and your flag?