I had a friend post on Facebook tonight about how she stands for the national anthem and how it upsets it her when people don’t. This whole NFL kneeling thing bothers me and so I sat down with myself and thought about why it does and what the flag means to me.
It a symbol of America’s greatness – the moon, Iwo Jima, the Trade center site.
The American flag is a phoenix and rises from the ashes giving us hope that will be a tomorrow because we will face it together a nation.
It is a symbol of what happens when 13 colonies, with different ideas and reasons for seeking freedom, came together as one to fight for independence from England and Europe.
Represented by the 13 stripes, those colonies knew that together they were stronger than apart.
It is a symbol of a fluid nation – with stars representing each state.
No one state is more important than the next on the flag, each is equally represented by a star – a beckon of hope.
It is a symbol of honor given to families of fallen service members.
My grandfather served in the Army some 70 years ago as a young man. When he was buried, he received military honors and flag was given to his son, my father, with the words, “On behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation [we thank your father for his service}” Hearing that is something that etches something special in your heart that is inexplicable.
When someone thinks they don’t need to stand for the Pledge or the National Anthem, to me, they saying they don’t believe there is hope, they don’t believe that we can rise again, they think the problems of this nation are too great to be solved and they just want to point out the problems, not be part of the solution.
I know it might seem trivial, but to me, a lot of protests happening today, make me think back to an incident when I was a kid at the Milwaukee County Zoo involving an elephant that was retiring. It’s got to be close to 30 years ago now, but Bob Barker (from the Price is Right) and a bunch of other celebrities all came and protested the zoo and there was all this hoopla about where the elephant was going. A very wise woman close to me thought that it was sad that all this energy went into protesting this decision when every night there are children who go to bed hungry, who sleep in fear of being beaten or worse at night, or don’t even have a home and she said, “imagine how many kids they could have helped.” And while that might seem like a simple idea, think about it. Instead of putting so much time and energy into spreading hate, what if everyone used that energy to help bring up a generation of kind, patriotic, industrious people. Think about it. We all literally have the ability to teach a whole generation about goodness and quite frankly, how to not be a bunch of little ass holes. Children are parrots. They will copy and assimilate what we teach them.
I will admit, there is a certain satisfaction about writing some scathing retort to someone’s opinions on Facebook or Twitter but what is gained by that? You are simply adding more hate to the universe and frankly, I don’t think it does much to change anyone’s view point except for them to lash out back at you. Just for a few days, try not to do it. When something upsets you, or causes you to want to punch someone in the throat, try doing something nice for someone else. Send a thank you email or write a nice note about someone who did something great, or send a little encouragement to someone who is struggling. You will be able to bring joy, gratitude and a little sunshine in a cloudy world. Your words and actions are powerful. Don’t waste them with hate.