2018-06-13 / Editorial & Columns

Behind the Badge

The Stars and Stripes forever
By Larry G. Spence

Since June of 1777 we, as a nation, have had a national flag. It's changed somewhat over the years but it is still the flag of the United States of America, the Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, and "The Star Spangled Banner." In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson made a Presidential Proclamation stating that June 14th of each year would be celebrated as Flag Day. It's been that way ever since its beginning. One of the few holidays they haven't made into a Monday and a three day weekend out of, yet. On the first National Flag Conference in Washington, D.C., on June 14, 1923 a change was made for clarity; the words, "the Flag of the United States" replaced "my flag." In 1942 Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance. In June of 1954, an amendment was made to add the words "under God." President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war."

I was born about the time wars were coming to a close. I remember a lot of patriotic parades, patriotic songs. Flags flying almost in front of every home. 1 grew up loving my flag, my country, and all that it stood for, not only at home, but around the world. We had flags in school, where we stood and recited the "Pledge of Allegiance," each morning to start the day. Just only thirty one words today, but what a history behind them. We grew up as our flag grew as well adding more stars, I've been a flag waiver all my life. Even today, I put my flag up on the flagpole each morning, salute it, and start my day.

When I entered the service my flag became even more important to me. I was serving the country my flag represented. I served my country for four years, 1966-1970. After returning from Vietnam, I was stationed at Scott AFB, in Belleville, Illinois just outside St. Louis. As a Military Policeman, while on patrol, I would go in the base theaters just before the movie started and wait for the National Anthem to start and then go around making sure everybody was standing up. I still get a thrill watching it flow in the breeze, waving so proudly. The pride that goes with it, and the pleasure of this is my country's flag.

It's not just a piece of cloth, it has history attached to it, bloodshed is part of it, and why we enjoy the freedoms we have today, which includes not honoring our flag if you choose not to. Try that in some other country and see what happens. Our country has its faults, but it's still the best in the world. Honor our flag on Flag Day and every day. God Bless America, again! Be safe and be blessed!

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