The American Flag Unfurled on the Fourth of July

Some days are busier than others. Last Saturday was one of those days when my
schedule was full; and the longer the day lasted, the more requirements that day’s events
demanded of my time. I jumped into the car to run a quick errand to the other side of
town. My mind was working like the hard drive on my computer – processing. Side
tracked by the line up of tasks and calculating the most efficient way to organize the
duties, I hardly noticed anything as I drove. I was lost in my own thoughts.
 
Having completed the job at hand, I jumped into the car and headed down Main
Street to return home. “One more duty done; dozens left to do,” I was thinking to myself
as I continued my internal monologue and strategy session. All of a sudden, my attention
was refocused as my eyes caught an inspiring sight. Lining Main Street, on both sides of
the road, were American flags posted about every ten feet or so. The wind was blowing
and catching the fabric, creating what looked like a waving sea of red, white, and blue.
Instantly I was transported out of my world of self-absorption by the sight of this icon of
patriotism.
 
Some songs trigger nostalgia; some smells evoke feelings; and some sights
activate memories. The sight of the flags that day set off a plethora of thoughts and
emotions within me. Tears instantly filled my eyes. My heart swelled with pride over
this great land of liberty. A gentle, grateful smile emerged on my face as my
contemplation focused upon my country.
 
These are difficult days for freedom. But then, freedom has never been free of
difficulty nor has freedom ever been free. From the inception of our nation, freedom
emerged from sacrifice. Liberty was purchased as lives were lost, blood was shed, and
heroes were born. Our history records the names of those heroes and our holidays
memorialize their deeds. Yesterday’s soldiers bought today’s freedom, while today’s
troops wage war to guarantee tomorrow’s independence.
 
Seeing the flag of our great nation displayed in tribute to our land and in honor of
our soldiers currently engaged in combat reminded me to be grateful – grateful for
America. Driving past the ensigns of our sovereign land, I found a soft prayer flowing
from my lips. I prayed for the men and women in our armed forces that have placed their
lives in harm’s way. I prayed for our President and his advisors, as the weight of their
decisions will shape the course of nations and history. I prayed for protection and
ultimately peace. I asked that other nations might also be graced as we have been with
liberty and prosperity. Tears fell from my eyes in tandem with words of thanksgiving
that fell from my lips.
 
My busy day continued but my meditations and considerations were refocused by
my trip down Main Street, USA. From the heart of its cities and the heart of its citizens,
may this nation continue to herald a visible and vocal tribute to liberty and justice for all.
Thank you, city managers and leaders, for displaying our great flag.
 
Happy Fourth of July!

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~Dr. Patti Amsden