Stars and stripes forever

 U.S. FlagWELDON PAYNE

special to the times

Now the Flag flies, twists gracefully with gentle wind, stars and stripes alive under bright sun. Our Flag alive. Our Country. Another year. Our Promise. Our Gift.

This cloth writhing. Squirming. Twisting. Breathing. Vowing. Honoring. Pledging. Stirring something beyond pride inside us. Promise. Hope. Courage. Expectancy. Opportunity.

Waving “up there” this living emblem symbolizing Duty. Purpose. Equality. Devotion. Homage. Respect.

Our Flag, waving, speaks of yesterday, today, tomorrow, whispers “Remember” and we do, however briefly, and think of how those broad stripes and bright stars have survived smoke and fire and whose silent flapping and tattered scars spoke last words to many Americans midst smoke and roar of battle and shredded and still waving cry silently but relentlessly: “Remember!”

Now, another year – another date – we surely hear proud throb of drums and strong, proud burst of music and tromp of feet on familiar pavement and see those bright stars and broad stripes fluttering in time with the music and surely recognize something beyond flashing color and beat of drum – that special something reminding us of who we are and where we live.

Seeing quiet writhing of Flag on still, sunshiny mornings, slithering in gentle breeze, we surely sometimes are inspired, hopeful, even happy despite duties, problems, sadness, anger, disappointments.

A glimpse of “Old Glory” does not “fix” everything or eliminate poverty, disappointment, anger, greed, obstacles, or wipe out dreams, opportunities, problems. Being “American” itself can be challenging, disillusioning, unfair, disappointing, dangerous.

But July 4, 2013 still surely speaks to us even as we remember 1776.

Americans who have seen other parts of the world, or all who surely know that our beloved “freedom” is a bright and shining gift in contrast to numerous other places on our overcrowded globe, still see the bright hope yet glowing in these United States.

Tomorrow is still a promise. Hope still glows midst all shenanigans and greed. The special red, white and blue cloth – our Flag – surely still speaks loudly to all who call ourselves “Americans.”

On this Fourth of July, midst ice cream, hot dogs, fireworks, parades and family picnics, may we also remember words penned by Henry Holcomb Bennett, (born in 1863) who urged: “ Hats off! Along the street there comes a blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums, A flash of color beneath the sky: Hats off! The flag is passing by!”

Thank God for America the Beautiful. Our country, our flag, ourselves.

Posted on Monday, July 1, 2013 at 3:43 pm