Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Flag Day Today ... American Exceptionalism

Saluting the Flag and Something More is subtitled 'A neglected June 14 ritual could use a revival, helping foster a love for country, this nation 'born in liberty.''

It has this message for each and all of us:

"On June 14, 1973, Mrs. Saul, my fifth-grade teacher at Beaver Brook School in Danbury, Conn., took the 12 of us in her class outside to the flagpole to celebrate Flag Day. It had been nearly 200 years since the same date in 1777 when the Revolutionary Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the new country’s emblem. June 14 has been designated as Flag Day ever since—though it’s a sad certainty that most Americans will pass the day without noticing. . . .

By 1973, as the Vietnam War continued and Watergate unfolded, the country had entered the era that continues to this day, in which the regnant narrative is more about what America has done to repent of than to celebrate. A ritual like honoring the flag was on the way out. . . .

We 11- and 12-year-olds understood that what we were doing was somehow important, and that this flag we were celebrating was more than a red-white-and-blue banner. It was a sacred symbol that pointed toward something beyond itself, that pointed to the thing it represented—to America, the country we’d been learning about, the nation “born in liberty” and “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Without saying so, Mrs. Saul was doing something profound: She was teaching us to love our country. In the process, we were being drawn into the circle of all those celebrating that day, and into the larger circle of those who had loved America throughout her history—and who had been doing what Benjamin Franklin in 1787 had said we must do, or else.

The 82-year-old Franklin was exiting Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where he and others had just finished creating the Constitution—and our nation—when a certain Mrs. Powell confronted him. “What have you given us, Dr. Franklin,” she asked pointedly, “a monarchy or a republic?”

Franklin’s response is famous: “A republic, Madam—if you can keep it!”

Standing around that flagpole 43 years ago, we were doing our small but vital part in “keeping” the republic. We were thus becoming Americans not in name only, but in our hearts and minds. America is the only nation not defined by ethnicity or religion, but by an unprecedented idea: liberty for all. So to truly be an American one must understand that idea, and must buy into it, and live it.

What we did that day was not indoctrination into some nationalistic, tribalist cause—God forbid—but an invitation to something noble and true and eternal. We were being connected to the “mystic chords of memory” of which Lincoln spoke, and to the sacrifices of all those who had died for the country, and to those still returning in coffins from Vietnam.

We were becoming part of something intended for everyone, but not yet possessed by everyone....

So, my dear fellow Americans, a question: How well have we been “keeping” this wild and fragile and unprecedented idea of a republic born in liberty? Let me be the first to admit: I’ve been sorely negligent. I reckon I’ve got to make up for about four decades of lost time. This Flag Day, I’m getting started. I hope you’ll join me."

Summing Up

Count me in!

American Exceptionalism is real and We the People are lucky to live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Now it's time for We the People as free individuals to take back our country from the politically correct politicians who are ruining it.

Speaking clearly about our values is a great beginning.

So is not depending on the politicians to do for us that which we can better do for ourselves -- almost everything!

That's my take. 

Thanks. Bob.

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