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Clyde: What do we do to celebrate the flag?

By Clyde

“Hats off. Along the street there comes a blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums, a flash of color beneath the sky,” said Henry Holcomb Bennet.

When is the last time you felt a patriotic moment? Stand tall, uncover your head and put your hand over your heart, lest we forget. There comes a swelling of pride in your chest that not only those in uniform can feel. Dulce et decorum est. Those who have lived through wartime know it.

Victory gardens, gas ration stamps, collecting scrap metal, wrapping bandages and fireside chats; we all fell in line behind the flag. Allegiance, from the Latin to bind, ligare, was the duty of a citizen to his government. When did all that go out the window? Where did all those flag burners and knee-takers come from after 245 years without cyber attacks?

At summer camp, we met at the flagpole. We played taps to retire the colors. We played steal the flag. At school, we opened with the pledge and a program. Try to find a flag or, for that matter, a portrait of a president, living or dead in a school room. Are we ashamed of George, honest Abe or our current president?

Citizens at city council don’t recite the pledge but are the first to complain. A homeowner group in Mooresville asked residents not to fly the flag so as not to offend visitors. Where are the faithful, few, fainthearted, fair-spoken, flintlock-toting followers?

Any flag draws attention. Matthew 11:7 says “What went ye out in the wilderness to see a bulrush reed shaken with the wind?” Even the word comes from the late middle English, flagge, to flutter. Aside from rules like not letting it touch the ground and hanging it with the field of stars on its own right, we often forget June 14th, Flag Day. Father Abram and Ryan tells us: “Furl that banner! For ’tis weary. Furl it, fold it, it is best. Furl it, hide it, let it rest.”

The field of azure blue for diligence and justice, does not fade. The stripes for the famous colonies have no meaning to websites like USAapparel.com. Nothing is off-limits. You would think somebody would wave the red flag to let festooned shirts, socks, bikinis and underwear fly free. Flags, like people, come in all kinds of stripes, shapes and colors, just in odd combinations and configurations. If you could make your own flag, what would it stand for? Every country is proud of its flag. Thanks, Betsy.

Salisbury has lived under four flags.

In Elvira, New York, at the National Cemetery, they fly the stars and bars over southerners’ graves. H.M. Wanton of Culpeper, Virginia, as a child rode two miles from his father’s home to a battlefield where hundreds of men lying in every positions, most of them dead, others wounded and dying made an impression on his mind — “that was incomprehensible to me and I wonder at it, to this day.”

Imagine, today, leaving home to fight in a foreign land. They gave their lives, the fallen, fallible, unfortunate, who gave up their future generations to fight for their country. They lost.

Most veterans die without thanks or reparations for their sacrifice. What do we do to celebrate, commemorate, commiserate, litigate or decorate? Museum directors and A.S.I.D members would like to make a holiday for “Decorations Day.”

Hey! let’s all give a great big flaggy salute, but don’t forget where you got our start in faith. “The roses blossom white and red. On tombs where weary soldiers lie, flags wave above the honored dead and martial music cleaves the sky. May we, their grateful children learn their strength, who lie beneath the sod, who went through fire and death, to earn at least the accolades of god.” Memorial day, Joyce Kilmer. “Hats off! The flag is passing by.”

Clyde lives in Salisbury.

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