Our Freedom, Our Flag, Our Patriotism

“The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth.”~Stonewall Jackson

“Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t carry just a piece of cloth to symbolize his belief in racial equality; he carried the American flag.”~Adrian Cronauer

“For me, the definition of a patriot is someone who is willing to constantly question the government; that’s what separates us from other countries”.~George Clooney

Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines a patriot as “A person who loves his country, and zealously supports and defends it and its interests.”  It’s amazing what we as a nation take for granted after over 200 years.  People have no concept of what a patriot is anymore.  The George Clooney quote is the perfect example of someone who has lost touch with what a real patriot is.  It took almost 100 years to free African Americans, and another 100 years after that to allow them to vote.  Our country though not perfect is learning what is important in human rights and racial equality.  Some voices are out there that will tell you different.  I think it’s healthy that we are removing Confederate flags from state and national areas.  I think it’s great we are digging up graves and moving Confederate generals who were KKK members and tearing down their statues.  I draw the line to go so far as to say the Confederate flag was symbol of hate.  General Stonewall Jackson was a true patriot that was defending his way of life just like anyone else would if he or she felt threatened.  He was not happy with slavery and even had a bible study with slaves before the war.  Not all Confederate soldiers became KKK members.  The civil war was not fought over just slavery as revisionist history people would have you believe, it was fought also because of the south being mostly agrarian and the north becoming more industrialized.  They also couldn’t agree on taxes, tariffs, and states’ rights verses federal rights.  Martin Luther King did fight against the government, but he was a patriot while doing it.  He talked about the Declaration of Independence in his great speech on Capitol Hill.  He was pointing out the hypocrisy that our government continued to support.  He died for what he believe, it was not to destroy America from within, but charging it, making it grow for the better.  That’s what a patriot does.  Let’s talk about the vision of the original patriots.

At the time, they needed a symbol of the freedom they sought, so they designed the flag that some say represents hate just as the Confederate flag does.

“The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness and valor, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice.”

I found that quote on Flag.org.  The first part of the quote talks about white being the symbol of purity and innocence.  Our country, though we have made some poor decisions with leaders that were weak or wrong in their views, is still a force for good in the world.  WWI and WWII were great examples of wars that we needed to fight to keep our nation free.  There are other wars that in my own opinion that were purely political in nature.

The red stands for hardiness and valor.  Hardiness and valor are raw courage, courage that those patriots back in 1776 showed when they declared independence from England; they bucked the government.  Hardiness and valor is the raw courage a man named Martin Luther King had to point out what was wrong in our society.  Hardiness and valor is the raw courage our service men and women continue to show as they serve their country by going into harm’s way.

The blue signifies chief or leadership.  Yes, our leaders even though they make mistakes like everyone else are patriots.  They give up a lot to become our leaders, they are constantly in the public eye, constantly criticized, and questioned.  It’s a battlefield, look how many presidents have aged in just four years.  We don’t have to agree with them, in fact I am not a fan of any politician, I am a fan of people who want to serve our country in the best possible way, not cater to group; which unfortunately most of our leaders today do, on both sides of the isle.

The last part of the flag is the broad band above the stripes that represent vigilance, perseverance, and justice.  The patriot is vigilant, he or she preservers, and they are just.  These are the qualities that bring about the red; the raw courage.  They are the fuel for courage.  Perseverance keeps you motivated and moving forward.  Vigilance protects, is always observing and keeping a watchful eye.  Justice is doing what is right at the right time.

The flag is a symbol of honor, which brings out the best in America, not the worst.  It is the symbol of the patriot that wants a country that isn’t divided, but united.  Honor is love and respect, and if we have love and respect for one another then we will have a strong union that the white stripes of purity with the red stripes of courage with the blue union of leadership, and the band of perseverance, vigilance, and justice, can fly proudly for the patriots of this country.

© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015

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