The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Enid Features

June 10, 2014

Flag Day: Remembering freedom, independence, unity

ENID, Okla. — How will you celebrate flag day? Think about it.

Flag Day celebrates the anniversary of the adoption of the flag of the United States of America. We proudly call that flag “Old Glory” or “The Stars and Stripes.” Whatever we choose to call it, it represents the greatest country in the world. We should be proud and humbled to fly that special banner on every occasion, but especially on the anniversary of the adoption of the red, white and blue flag.

There have been several changes from the original flag supposedly sewn by Betsy Ross. The number of stripes representing the 13 original colonies are the same and the color is the same, with only the number and placement of the stars being altered as additional states were added to the union of the states. Its beauty lies not just in its colors or geometric design but in its symbolism: freedom, independence and unity. When we see it waving in a breeze, we are moved and in awe of what it represents. We respect the ideals that the flag symbolizes.    

Even though it is the right of every free citizen, it breaks my heart to see people desecrate our flag. Burning it is the height of disrespect. I cannot imagine anyone hating this country so much that they would do such a thing. But, that flag stands for the freedom to express ourselves, so it is perfectly legal. It may be legal, but it is sacrilegious. It is bad enough to not salute the flag when it is presented in a parade or at a ball game and to not stand at attention during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner.” I feel sorry for those people who do not have the proper respect for the very flag that represents the  country that provides all their freedoms.

Maybe disrespect for the flag comes from never having been in a situation where our country was in peril. When Jim saw the flag raised on Iwo Jima and heard the shouts and yelling from the ships out in the harbor when they observed the ceremony, it brought a lump to his throat and a reverence to his heart for our flag that has never diminished. He is still very, very patriotic and holds the flag and its meaning close to his heart.  He will never take it lightly nor for granted. Many, many of our finest young men were killed in that battle, as all the other battles, and must never  be forgotten.  

When Jim returned to Iwo Jima a few years ago and  went to the top of Mount Suribachi, there was a marker where the original flag had been raised and flown. Even that marker brought a lump to Jim’s throat. That famous picture of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima in World War II is almost symbolic of America’s  victory.  It was on war bond  posters, stamps and  nearly everywhere. The raising of that flag symbolized a sense of pride, and a price paid by  those Marines who fought that bitter battle

After a trip to Washington, D.C., recently our friends, Kim and Randy, presented Jim with a flag that had  flown over our nation’s capitol for him, honoring his service to our country on Iwo Jima.  Kim and Randy had the certificate beautifully framed and the flag enclosed in a special presentation box.  It holds a distinctive place in Jim’s heart and in his Marine “museum”.    

Every morning in grade school we saluted the flag and often talked about its meaning and symbolism.  We sang the “Star Spangled Banner” and stood at absolute attention when we sang, with our hands over our hearts. Do schools even do that anymore?  Or has that gone out the window with saying prayers in school?

Several years ago when Jim attended the Veterans’ Assembly at Taft School (as he always does)  he met a sweet young man, Patrick Little, who gave a demonstration to the students about flag manners and procedures.  It was very informative and taught the kids a lot.  Patrick went on to use that speech as his Eagle Scout project,  He gave that presentation to schools, and every organization that would ask him.  With that one meeting, he and Jim formed a life-long friendship.  I hope  those who were fortunate enough to hear him, respect and love the flag like he does.        

Those of us who are moved by the flying of our flag should stand up and be counted and participate in every flag ceremony we can.  We should fly it at every opportunity and not just on June  14.  We should be proud and pledge allegiance to it every day.

For Jim’s birthday one year, I had a flag pole and flower garden designed for our front yard. For years (until he was unable to stand at attention or hardly stand at all) he raised and lowered the American flag and his Marine Corps flag every morning and evening on that flag pole. It was a sense of pride to him and meant a lot. It was in honor of his fallen buddies during World War II.

The liberty, peace, and prosperity of America, imposes upon us sacred obligations.  Our country is a priceless heritage. Shall we accept it as our natural right, or shall we prove ourselves worthy of the gifts and sacrifices that have brought our land to this great moment in history? Lets all show our pride and patriotism and fly our flag proudly.

Here is an easy casserole to serve Flag Day when you arise early to raise your flag for all the world to see. Good with warm bagels and cream cheese, cantelope and tomato juice.  

Broccoli/Cheese

Breakfast Casserole


1 cup finely chopped broccoli (fresh or frozen)

1 pound ground sausage

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

12 eggs

1⁄2 cup milk

1⁄4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Cook sausage until done and drain well. Combine all ingredients. Pour into baking dish and bake in 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes, until eggs are firm and the top is lightly browned. To cool, let set about  five minutes before serving.

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