The Constitution of the United States of America, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence are documents which define us as Americans. We are not defined by race, religion, language, ethnicity, or national origin. We are defined by common commitments to the ideals contained in those documents. We are held together by our shared beliefs in such values as liberty, equality, and justice.
The flag of our country symbolizes that ideal. There is a rich history of sacrifice and patriotism for those ideals, which has been long symbolized by our flag: Terms of "rally round the flag," the Pledge of Allegiance, the Star Spangled Banner, images of soldiers holding up the flag on the battlefield, a flag draped over the casket of a fallen patriot. The representative republic that the flag represents is the most fair and moral form of government in the world. Many people from other countries seek to flee the repressive governments of their homelands to find the opportunity and liberty promised for over 200 years.
No document, no government, no person can be perfect. We can strive for that level of correctness in ourselves, in those for whom we vote, for those principles we put into law. That we may not care for a particular official, or policy of our country, does not negate the expectation that one should indeed be grateful for, and show allegiance to, the country that boldly declares "...That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness."
We are responsible as families to teach our children the reason thousands of men and women have laid down their lives for their countrymen, that the promise of America might continue for their children and grandchildren. Patriotism for country and flag is not blind, mindless lockstep. It is borne of study about the foundation of this country; of generations of free people striving to better themselves and their country that all may have the liberty to reach their full potential; of those who sought "...Protection of divine Providence," pledging their lives, fortunes and sacred honor.
It is up to us as parents to continue to teach the morals, principles and hope upon which this country was founded. We cannot rely on school teachers, who may not have the same commitment, principles or agenda. It is up to us, now, to insure that the sacrifice of so many was not in vain.
Lynda A.W. Edwards