Flag is symbol of sacrifice

By Joan Clayton: PNT columnist

Remember when people saluted the flag with pride? Men removed hats, and hands were placed on hearts. No one talked when the flag went by, and many had a teary eye.

I admire those who salute the flag. I also admire parents who teach their children why we honor the flag and why they should, too.

Flag Day is Sunday. It is a day to honor “Old Glory.” Let’s display the flag and what it represents.

I love my flag, and I respect it. I’ll not leave it out in the wind until it is in shreds or is blown around in storms. When I see the flag of the United States, I remember the sacrifices of so many who have given their lives to preserve America.

I grew up in a small town and felt the heartache of those who lost loved ones in the military. Whenever we saw the depot dispatcher walking to a house with a yellow telegram that said, “We are sorry to inform you …,” we knew what had happened. All of us in that small community cried together.

My grandmother’s neighbor received one of those telegrams. I witnessed the pain and agony a mother had to endure. I can still see the scene. It is indelibly imprinted upon my mind as a young child. She ran around and around her house wailing and calling for her son who was killed in the Normandy invasion. Just writing about Granny’s neighbor and her loss brings my tears.

It grieves me to see a lack of respect for our flag. It also alarms me to see our freedoms disappearing … freedoms that were bought and paid for by many brave men and women who proudly served this nation.

I challenge you to research on the Internet “Why the American flag is folded 13 times.” You will be surprised to find many references to God.

From the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the present war in Iraq and all the sacrifices in between, those who gave their lives are too many to count. Our debt of gratitude cannot be measured. Just imagine how a soldier feels hope when he sees our flag waving in a battlefield. Imagine how a veteran feels because he has been there. Imagine how a mother or father whose son or daughter is overseas fighting for you and me feels.

The 11th chapter of Hebrews talks about the heroes of the Bible. Great men in Bible times were warriors led by God. Their faith enabled them to fight for freedom and overcome their enemies.

We learn a lot from these godly patriarchs. Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and David, among many others. They were men who trusted God. They held onto their faith in the midst of extremely harsh circumstances. Our soldiers today are fighting for freedom … freedom from tyranny … freedom for this country.

Millions have died to protect this nation. They gave their lives to preserve America. Should we not honor them? They gave their lives for you and me. Because of that we can proudly wave our flag while being grateful for those who have gone before us.

I love the flag, and I love America!

I pledge allegiance to the flag, one nation, under God!

Will you join me? When you see a soldier will you thank him or her? When you see the red, white and blue, will you thank God for America? Will you honor our country’s flag and be thankful?

Will you say with me, “Amen to freedom”?