Our Flag Still Stands For Freedom

Whether you call it Old Glory, Grand Old Flag, or the red, white, and blue, I want to begin this article by talking about the personal meaning that the American flag holds for me.  I take you back to September 11, 2001. At that time, I was still in the U.S. Army. I was a sniper in a high speed infantry unit, which is an elite unit that can be anywhere in the world within 18 hours. When the first plane hit the World Trade Center, I was watching a Sesame Street video with my kids. Noah was two years old, David was one year old, and Hunter (a.k.a. Baby Girl) was one month old, sleeping in my arms. When I heard what was going on, I turned off the video and witnessed the second plane crash into the other tower.  The reports came streaming in about another plane crashing into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia.  Finally, the fourth plane that was heading to hit the White House crashed just outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  I was torn in two. One half of me was standing there, holding my Baby Girl, watching my two sons playing innocently and thinking, “This is the world my children have to grow up in?” The other half of me knew our country was at war.

Immediately, all military bases were put on lockdown and no military personnel could leave their bases. That night, President George W. Bush had a press conference and said, “If you are wearing a military uniform, you are going to war.” Thousands and thousands of men and women carried the American flag on the field of battle to fight the war on terror. As a result of 9/11, I have lost many close friends I had served with in the army. During times of war, the U.S. Army uniform has an American flag patch worn on the right shoulder. These patches are worn to show that the American flag still stands for freedom.

Now this is where my article gets personal. Last week, I went into a building on our campus to do some work — that building will remain nameless.  As I went into the building, I noticed that there was an American flag in a trash can. Needless to say, I was extremely pissed off and angry. All I could think of were the men and women who fought and died defending our flag, the symbol of this great country.  For me to see it thrown in a trash can was truly a slap in the face.  The person working with me, who is also a veteran of the U.S. Army, was furious as well. Fellow Swatties, there is a proper way of disposing of an American flag. You can take it to any American Legion Post, or feel free to give it to me and I will take care of it. Please — do not dishonor the flag by throwing it in the trash.  Many people willingly gave their lives so that you can enjoy the freedoms that you exercise every day.

Dig this: there is bad news in the world. Pick up the newspaper, bad news. Turn on the television, bad news. Turn on the radio, bad news. There are evil people in the world, there are terrorists who are intent on destroying the United States of America. We will not let them. The United States of America is the greatest country on Earth and they hate us because they will never be like us. There is no place on Earth like the United States of America, and each one of us is proud to be an American.  We live for it, we will fight for it and we will die for it. The way we will beat those evil people is to walk around with a smile on our faces because we can enjoy all the opportunities that we have in America. Live your lives in freedom, without fear, and we will see them destroyed and vanished from the face of the Earth. The men and women in uniform defending our country and our freedom and our flag; they are the heroes of this modern day. There is no excuse to ever throw an American flag in a trash can. Feel free to throw away this article, but hopefully after reading it you will think twice before throwing away OLD GLORY…

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