Old Glory

star-spangled-banner

The flag over Fort McHenry in Baltimore

Today I was sitting outside on a sunny, windy autumn afternoon when I noticed a huge American flag rippling in the breeze. I meditated on the meaning of that flag for a while. I was not used to seeing it.  My eyes the past few years had settled many days on the Finnish flag, a blue cross on a white background, not the Star Spangled Banner. 

A flag is a cultural symbol, and while the Finnish flag does not grip my soul, the American flag means something to me. Today as I gazed at that gigantic flag, I thought about what it represents. 

Mainly, I thought about our history. America was  founded on principles of freedom and individual rights.  We have defended these principles for over two hundred years, including in foreign wars for the benefit of other countries as well as for ourselves.  People have died for what our flag symbolizes.

My spirit wrestled some though as I looked at that flag. In the 2st century we are extremely divided as a people.  Americans are at war with each other culturally, racially, spiritually, and economically. Our freedoms are threatened from within.  But conflict within ourselves is nothing new. It occurred during the American Revolution, and throughout our history. We even had a civil war that resulted in a strong union.

I figure that the conflict isn’t a bad thing. The freedom to hold an opinion and speak our minds is inherent in the American spirit.  Where we get lost in the battle is when we stop respecting people who come at life differently than we do. This results in rancor that goes against the American esteem for liberty.

The internal war we are fighting is different from the past in one way: its cause is due in part to a segment of our people seeking to toss God from the American landscape.  They want liberty, but they also want licentiousness, for whatever reason. .

The stars of the American flag are set in an array that was to symbolize a new constellation, a source of light for mankind. The founding of America was no accident. God had His guiding hand on men who followed Him in establishing it.  A return to the honoring of Him in our nation would go a long way in restoring the flag to its former glory.

From the Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key, written as he watched the bombardment of Fort McHenry.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

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