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When I View Our Nation’s Flag

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I meant to get out a blog post earlier this month – in fact I wanted to do one on Flag Day – but got preoccupied with other matters. Still, I set a goal of blogging once per month so I’m sneaking a post in right as June comes to an end.

So to pick up on my thoughts from Flag Day, which I think are still worthwhile sharing since we are entering the 4th of July weekend, I happen to think the colors of the stars and stripes look particularly nice against the red brick of my home, as in the photo I took this morning. I don’t display the flag every day as many people do in New England; I respect those that do, but I fly mine just on federal holidays and when I am in the mood. I like to keep the colors fresh and unfaded.

I’ll add that there’s an historical aspect to the photo’s backdrop, as my house sits in a neighborhood the U.S. government built during World War I to house workers at the Portsmouth Navy Yard (across the river in Kittery, Maine) who were building ships for the war effort. I purchased a book about my Atlantic Heights community, written by a local historian, that I plan to read soon.

These are tumultuous times, and unfortunately our flag has more detractors than ever. The founding fathers of our nation, are, to say the least, called into question in some quarters. It would be easy for me to focus on the negative, but I won’t do so here.

To me, the flag calls to mind American values and ideals: courage, individualism, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, respect for the rule of law, community cooperation. It also makes me thankful for the many brave souls who have fought and died to keep this nation together.

America has certainly fallen short of its ideals in the past, just as any individual has fallen short, intentionally, or otherwise. No country will ever be perfect.

With that I will end this post with a question: when you see the American flag, what do you think of?

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