Patriotism is something we should all embrace. We live in the great United States of America! It’s land of the free shipping discounts and home of the Brave Little Toaster. Granted, I’m not saying we should all go get tattoos of the stars and stripes and only listen to John Phillip Sousa marches. I just think that, despite all of the constant failings our country seems to be facing, we should still respect our home.
I guess I consider myself to be patriotic, though not in an extremist sort of way. (Okay, maybe a little.But only ages ago!) Seeing our country’s flag waving in the wind makes me want to stand up taller, more proud. I’m pretty sure this stems from my childhood. I know I learned the Pledge of Allegiance at an early age, but I never had to recite it before school. Ever. Not because of my upbringing in a community of anarchists, but because I was home schooled. I remember getting to attend a vacation Bible school at the local Baptist church when I was probably six years old. Every morning we had to start the day by standing at attention, facing the flag with our hand on our heart and reciting the pledge. It was a big deal!
In the town where I spent most of my childhood, the 4th of July celebrations were enormous (and still are). The best part of the day for me was always the parade. I’ve never witnessed a parade like it. Usually there’s many large tractors, lots of fire engines, local business advertising on unrestored vehicles, riding lawn mowers, marching bands with the best baton twirler you’ll never
want to see find anywhere else, garbage trucks decorated with stuffed animals pulled from the refuse… the list is endless. Despite all of its oddities, there is one moment that’s always done right in the parade; it’s led either by veterans or sometimes scouts carrying the flag. And we, the thousands who are waiting for the literal tons of candy to be hurled at us, stand in silent reverence as it passes by. Silent at least until the fighter jets do their fly-over. Oh, yes, Creswell, Oregon may be a small town, but they know how to have a parade!
Now that I’m a parent, I find it important to teach my sons proper respect for our country and our flag. For now, they only have a slight understanding of what it cost for us to be able to freely fly it, but they are learning it’s important. We were recently at a monster truck rally when a younger girl was introduced to sing the Star Spangled Banner. As soon as my sons saw there was a girl taking center stage, they checked out. Actually, one of them may have started checking out what items could be found under their seat to avoid visuals of a girl. But as they brought out a huge flag, I made them stand up and show respect while I whispered in their ears exactly why. After all, it is our patriotic duty.
My sons may be showing age-appropriate respect for Old Glory, but there is another member of my family who is showing some disturbingly unpatriotic tendencies. Unfortunately, I only realized this after we mounted a small flag pole on the front of our home. And I’m really not sure what to do to remedy the issue. It may stem from the fact he was born in a home that was made up of foreigners, a family that spoke English as a second language. And while I don’t know what their feelings are towards out government, judging by his behaviour, I’m assuming they didn’t appreciate the U. S. of A. In fact, judging by his actions, I’d say they cursed our flag, and cursed it often, which seems so hard to believe. They seemed like decent people, even if they couldn’t keep all of the brothers and sisters together.
So daily, as the flag waves outside our living room window, I ponder this problem and search for a solution. And all the while, my insane dog barks rabidly at the stars and stripes. I don’t think I’ll ever know what he’s saying to it, though. After all, English is his second language.