Pride. Honor. Respect. Love of God and County. Family.
What do these words mean to you? To me they represent America. I was born in America at a time when these words were synonyms representative of the USA.
I remember being a child and saying the Pledge of Allegiance every morning in school with my hand over my heart. I looked forward to that simple gesture of respect that started my day. I remember going to sporting events where we all said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the National Anthem before the game ball was thrown out. And I remember standing at attention in my law enforcement uniform saluting the flag as it waved above our heads. I remember when the country came together when 9-1-1 tore our hearts apart as we watched the Twin Towers collapse, and I remember when we celebrated the day after Y2K when the computers continued to run (the fear was they would stop and planes would fall from the sky). In times of adversity Americans come together.
One reason I love Memorial Day Weekend is because of the many flags on front porches and wave from the back of pick-up trucks. For at least one weekend we are proud of our country, our military, and we show that pride as Old Glory waves. The American flag is a symbol of sacrifice and represents the freedoms those sacrifices made possible. When I look at the flag, I see the brave faces of men and women who courageously faced adversity when they settled in a wild and new land. I see the inventors who created farming towns, then industries, then cities where people could find success. I see the good and the bad, the weak and the strong, the challenged hardships and the successful outcomes when the people fought for the truth. I don't ever want to lose that spirit. I love my country and the people who love her. We are America. We are what the songs and symbols represent. We the people...and in God we trust.
This weekend, raise the flag, put your hand over your heart, and sing praises to the land of the free and the home of the brave.
"Show proper respect to everyone,
love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor."
1 Peter 2:17 (NIV)