What is a flag? In short, the dictionary says it is a piece of cloth or bunting, often attached to a staff, with distinctive colors, patterns, or symbolic devices used as a national or state symbol. What does it mean to you? I remember growing up and raising and lowering the flag daily was an assignment of honor in our school. We stood in the yard each day and said the "Pledge of Allegiance," hand over heart, and dedicated our lives to the freedom for which it stands. We knew we were blessed being Americans and were educated on what our freedom cost our forefathers. We were told never to take freedom for granted or it may be lost.
There are many heroic historical stories and many personal accounts of how the red, white and blue impacted the lives of individuals and nations. I know at times I'm not very proud to be an American when the scandals of our leaders hit the headlines, or I see the violence on TV or in the news that we as Americans have almost grown to accept as normal. Even then, I'm still moved by the flag of our nation, waving in the wind, snapping to attention with each gust.
Likewise, it saddens the heart to see a flag that is tattered and torn, looking more like a dish towel than the symbol of our nation. What does this say about us as a people and the state of our country? What message does it send to people visiting our country. It's unfortunate that the materials used to make flags these days are not sturdy enough to withstand constant battering of high winds and winter storms, but then maybe we should take the time to strike (lower) them.
If the flag is flown to display your pride of being an American, maintain that pride and take it down if it's shredded or you think a storm is going to damage it. The next time you drive through town, look at the condition of the flags. If you decide to remove a damaged flag and don't know what to do with it, call the American Legion to ask. You've heard the saying, "America: love her or leave her?" Well, I say, fly the flag with pride or don't fly it at all -- at least, that is, until you can replace it with one in good condition, and then let her fly!