March 23 • 12:37 PM
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Give flag the honor, respect it deserves

Dear Editor,

With the 4th of July approaching, I give thought to the state of our patriotism. I recently ran into this article in a newsletter I receive. As many of us still have a child, brother, sister or parent in the military, my thought gives way to our lack of public display to honor those who have given up so much for us to live in a place of freedom. Yes, even if you oppose the government you still, in America, have that freedom:

Some people call me Old Glory, others call me the Star Spangled Banner, but whatever they call me, I am your flag, the flag of the United States of America.

Something has been bothering me, so I thought I might talk it over with you—because it is about you and me. I remember some time ago that people would line up on both sides of the street to watch the parade and naturally I was leading everyone, proudly waving in the breeze. When your daddy saw me coming, he immediately removed his hat and placed it against his left shoulder so that his hand was directly over his heart. And you, I remember, were standing there, straight as a soldier, you didn't have a hat but you were giving the right salute.

Remember your little sister? Not to be out done, she was saluting the same as you with her right hand over her heart—remember? What happened? I'm still the same old flag. Oh, I've added a few more stars since you were a boy, and a lot more blood has been shed since those parades of long ago. Now, somehow, I don't feel as proud as I used to feel. When I come down the street, you just stand there with your hands in your pockets. You may give me a small glance, and then you look away.

I see children running around you shouting—they don't seem to know who I am. I saw one man take his hat off, then he looked around, and when he didn't see anybody else take off his hat, he quickly put his on again. Is it a sin to be patriotic today?

Have you forgotten what I stand for, and where I have been? Anzio, Guadalcanal, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq! Take a look at the memorial honor rolls and see the names of those patriotic Americans who gave their lives to keep this republic free. When you salute me, you are actually saluting them! So when you see me, please stand straight and place your hand over your heart, and I'll know that you remembered. I'll salute you by waving back!

I don't know who authored this piece, but I have stood in several parade lines and am aware of this lack of enthusiasm. I have also been on a military base and have seen the difference. My family has three men currently serving this country, we have our bases covered—one Air Force, one Navy and one Army. To all of our sons and daughters who have protected the United States and continue to do so, I salute you.

Janice Zuhlke, Imlay City
June 20, 2007

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