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You’re the emblem of the land I love!

A photo of the American flag.
Ryan O'Connell / THE GATEPOST

By Steven Bonini

The American flag – a symbol of democracy, freedom, and individual rights.

Some of you may have read the above sentence and nodded your head in agreement, while others may have rolled your eyes or shook your head.

It’s the latter that surprises me.

Recently, I’ve heard many individuals both in-person and on social media say hateful things about America, some even going as far as to light the American flag on fire.

I’m all for freedom of speech and freedom of expression – they’re our most basic human rights – but I truly believe those who say such heinous things about our nation and treat our flag with such disgrace, are awfully misguided.

I can remember in high school how many people refused to stand up for the flag during the Pledge of Allegiance, but not me.

Every morning before announcements, I placed my hand upon my heart and I proudly recited – “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America!”

I always wanted to turn to those who refused and remind them that they live in a first-world country. The greatest country in the world. The country that is the beacon of democracy, but then I remembered – it’s that very same flag I stood in front of that gave them the right and freedom to sit during a patriotic moment.

With that said, I want to be clear about what the American 6ag does not stand for – just in case there may be some confusion.

Our flag does not represent frailty or cowardness.

Our flag does not represent evil.

And our flag certainly does not represent corruption.

But what it does represent is hardiness – red. Innocence – white. And perseverance – blue.

Thirteen stars were placed upon our flag at the time of our founding to show unity by each of the colonies.

Today, that 13 has reached a staggering 50 stars. One star for each state, all uniting toward the goal of protecting our individual freedoms from the possibility of government tyranny.

America is the home of individual freedoms, the heart of the liberal dream, and will forever be the land of opportunity for people of all races, religions, and creeds.

Every time our flag is flown up toward the heavens, waving in all its glory, it is those very values that wave along with it.

Where we lost sight of those ideals, I’m not exactly sure, but seeing how we’re living in times of great division, I think it’s time for all Americans to look to their flag and remember what it means to be a citizen of this great nation.

Let us not forget the extraordinary upheaval many of our ancestors went through to make this country what it is today – all defending the morals that our flag represents.

From the founding fathers to every immigrant who stepped off Ellis Island, to the young military men and women giving their lives for the greater good, we all have a due diligence to continue fighting for the values our country and 6ag were built on, and to never let the vile feelings of hatred divide us.

And please, never let anybody tell you that being patriotic is associated with one political party over another because whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, an Independent or a Libertarian, we’re all Americans.

So, the next time you look at that high-flying flag of ours, remember to stand by it with grace, dignity, and respect, because it does the same for you.


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