Friday, July 2, 2010

Don't lose the wonder.

Upon opening up my twitter feed this morning, I saw a tweet posted by a follower that said a fellow liberal neighbor expressed surprise seeing him outside today putting his flag out to fly in honor of July 4th.  The follower said in his mind, it was "kinda sad."  Kinda???

He said that he flies the flag because it represents America striving to reach its ideal.  I'm not exactly sure what his ideal for America is.  But I know that that piece of cloth...those stars and stripes, signify a way of life for me that was brought about by untold sacrifice and service.  The fact that I can live wherever I want in this country, attend church each week without fear, am free to speak my mind on various issues, and an array of other daily freedoms is enough that I could celebrate every morning upon opening my eyes, and not just on July 4th.

Betsy Ross, creator of the first American flag, was an upholsterer and seamstress.  Freeing our nation from the British was no easy task and she knew it having lost two husbands to the bloodshed of the Revolutionary War.   She attended church with George and Martha Washington and so it was not surprising he asked her, knowing her skill with fabric, to create the flag.  Along with Washington and two others, design ideas were exchanged which resulted in Betsy sewing our first American flag.

In 1814, another woman, Mary Pickersgill, was commissioned to make a giant flag to fly above Ft. McHenry, a signal to the British that America was not about to lie down and play dead.  It measured 30 X 42 feet and was cut & pieced by Mary and her 13 year old daughter.  That flag survived and although very tattered from the 24 hour fiery bombardment in Baltimore's harbor, it's been preserved and is on display at the Museum of American History in Washington DC.  I remember the first time I saw it in 1985.  I stood there in silence, almost unable to take in the sight of this two story sized flag. Now threadbare and void of the brilliant red and blue colors on our flags today, it was utterly majestic as it hung in this giant hall serenaded by the Star Spangled Banner.  For me it was something almost beyond comprehension.

On the evening of the 4th, I'll be in a park with hundreds of people, overshadowed by a lighted American flag while the strains of John Philip Sousa music sails through the night air.  Fireworks will light up the sky reminding me of the thousands of individuals in my country who made and continue to make this life of freedom possible for me. 

Flying my flag on July 4th helps me remember the wonder of liberty and I don't ever want to lose it.