Flag Waving

This week, National Flag Week in the USA, is a time to pause and recognize the greatness of this nation and its people. The 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies, and the 50 stars represent the 50 states. The color red stands for valor and bravery. The white stands for purity and innocence. The blue stands for vigilance, perseverance, and justice. Our flag represents all our people and all our political ideologies.

There are some who would scoff and shriek that our flag should not be celebrated. Thankfully, there are many more who understand, appreciate, and respect the dedication, hard work, and sacrifices that have built and defended our rights to live as free Americans. Despite the blatantly negative political climate and pervasively ongoing divisiveness, I am still a believer in this little American experiment in democracy.

While some Americans fear our best years are behind us, far more are unwilling to simply give up and give in to the status quo. These are the courageous. These are the patriots. These are the often-everyday heroes… those who are willing to stand up in the face of threats, lies, and social injustice to call on us all to do better… together.

Millions continue to flock here, not because we are falling, but because hope still lives here, despite our drastic imperfections. Even in our toughest times, freedom shines more brightly here than in many other nations’ best days, never mind current times of struggle. Though I hold the highest respect for those who have made the sacrifices necessary to come here legally and put in the work to become US citizens, I also understand the plight of the millions who desperately scramble to enter illegally. However, sympathizing does not mean their pathway should be hastened nor smoothed.

We are a nation fully built by wave after wave of immigrants. People hoping for a chance or an opportunity. People seeking a hand-up, not a handout. When we listen to the words of immigrants, we learn that when they earn the right to become citizens, they will proudly vote for the ideals that make us strong. Permitted to think and act freely, they will shock naysayers and defiantly vote against anything that even smacks of socialism. They will vote to reduce the powers of government and to preserve sanity in our constitutional republic, rather than fall in line with alarmists who point at patriots as democracy destroyers.

Immigrants have often escaped from nations that standardly weaponized judicial systems, canceled freedoms of expression, and rigged opportunities to feather their own nests. These are people who rightfully abhor powers that manipulate and force people into whatever convenient “boxes” the leaders choose to keep people dependent upon the very government that restricts them. These are people who believe in America and are proud to be here, even if all they have is the clothing on their backs. We are these people.

What made our nation strong were overwhelming beliefs in God, family, community, and work ethic. Neighbors helped neighbors, but we shunned government handouts like the plague. We may have had no money and often no country to which to return, but we refused to surrender our dignity, passion, and belief in positive possibilities for the next generations that will follow us.

We learn to gratefully celebrate what makes this nation the historically amazing country it is.  We rightfully cherish our citizenship and never take lightly the citizenship process nor its responsibilities. We respect others’ right to agree or disagree with our beliefs, just as our Founding Fathers did with each other, as they stood together strongly and proudly for what was right.

We believe in America. We come here to be Americans. We are proud to be Americans, even before we earn our American citizenship. We are rightfully leery of democracy destroyers who point accusatory fingers at democracy defenders. We thank our veterans, first responders, and all who have sacrificed and all who continue to sacrifice in the name of freedom and liberty. We honor our flag and all that the “Red, White and Blue” represents. May we all have a thoughtful and proud National Flag Week.

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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