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Long may it wave
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“It’s a grand old flag.”
“Hooray for the Red, White and Blue.”
“Oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
“O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
Our culture is littered with musical references to our national banner.
As a people, we tend to take the symbol of our nation to heart, even if we don’t always do it with the best taste.
We are in the time of year when we will see the symbol of our nation both honored and disrespected at the same time.
It begins with Memorial Day and runs through Flag Day, which is today, and on to Independence Day.
During this month, we see the flag used for just about everything you can imagine.
It will appear on paper plates at barbecues, on T-shirts, on all sorts of sporting equipment, from sleeping bags to life vests.
It will be displayed on cars, in front of businesses and at houses.
And through it all, in most instances it will be done with the best of intent, but often with the least respect.
It doesn’t matter if you are patriotic.
If you allow an American flag to be torn to ribbons, hanging, dirty, from your front porch, you are showing disrespect to the symbol of our nation.
If you have a flag in filthy, tattered condition, attached to your car or truck antennae, it doesn’t matter what your feeling for the flag is, you are showing disrespect.
It’s wonderful that Americans are stirred by their flag, that we use it to help exhibit our love of country, but in the process we need to follow rules of etiquette that were designed to insure that our flag is treated with the respect it is due.
We may not always agree with the policies of the party in power, but we can never argue with the devotion that has been spent by those who have established and protected our flag.
Displaying it with respect, treating it with honor, saluting it when it is presented in public, are all honors that are due our nation’s heritage of freedom, whether we are always happy with our sitting government or not.
Too great a price has been paid, and continues to be paid, for the liberty that we so often take for granted.
It costs us little to show respect for our national symbol.
There are enough places around the world where our flag is treated abhorrently with intent, let us not do likewise through neglect.
 — Chuck Smith