This day often brings out the best in out country. I served in a color guard at the Chicago History Museum, and did my best to give our flag the same respect that those who died for it gave it. The entire audience stood for the presentation, and gave a rousing round of applause to the veterans among our audience. The speeches were respectful, and there was a reading of the Declaration of Independance. All too often, people forget that that declaration is the reason not only for a day to hold barbecues and shoot fireworks, but for the very existence of this nation. On that note, it was also a condemnation. The signers knew that they were condemning this fledgling nation to years of war and hardship. The flag of our nation was paid for in the blood of our soldiers, and the tears of torn families. To show respect to the flag is to show respect to those who sacrificed to bring it, and the freedoms this nation guarantees are given by those who have given up their own. The flag is a piece of cloth. It stand for much more.
It was one of our unit's more successful presentations, and was received very well. Except by one man. This man came up to my scoutmaster (it's a boy scout color guard unit) and complained that we had asked the audience to join in the pledge to the flag we had carried. His complain was that it was a military flag, and he did not want to pledge allegiance to it. To me, this shows that this man has no respect for the military blood that was spilled to create that flag. The American Flag is the symbol of our nation, regardless of it's particular affiliation. And so, I would like to end with a few words to those who share this man's anti-military leanings. first. You don't have to support the war. Please support our troops. They gave you your barbecues and parades and fireworks. Second. That Flag is the symbol of our nation. Naturalized citizens must take the pledge. I daresay that those people understand this country better than you do. You are entitled to your opinion of our nation. But if you are unwilling to make that pledge, then you do not deserve US citizenship. Government constituent relations must go two ways. They can serve this nation best when the populace is loyal. Third. Enjoy the trappings of liberty today and every day. But always remember that that liberty is paid for in the blood of Americans. Respect them, and the ideals they died to protect.