Those Stars And Stripes

Between The Bridges

I would be remiss if I did not mention that the feedback from last week's column, “Back Pain and Loo-nacy," was somewhat mixed. Although some readers told me that they had a good chuckle over my efforts to deal with chronic lower back pain, others were somewhat upset about what they described as my "unhealthy" fixation on bodily functions. More specifically, they thought I had dwelled far too long on the subject of constipation and laxatives, but between you and me, I honestly believe it was my "Bowel Banger" cocktail that may have shoved them over the edge.

In any case, always conscious of the sensitivities of those who read these missives, I have decided to forego this week's intended column regarding the ins and outs of my recent prostate exam brought about by elevated PSA levels noted in my latest blood tests. Suffice it to say that when I returned home from the doctor, I assured my beloved Grace that, "No, the doctor did not stumble across my head during his examination!"

Prostate issues aside, last week we celebrated Flag Day, commemorating the Flag Resolution of 1777 when the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution which stated: "Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." Although Flag Day celebrations were held locally throughout the country, it was not until 1916 that President Woodrow Wilson officially established June 14 as Flag Day by Presidential Proclamation and then years later in 1949, President Harry S. Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 as National Flag Day.

In conversations with some of the younger members of our Broad Channel community, it was questioned why anyone would want to interject religion into the Pledge of Allegiance by inserting God to the pledge back during the 1950s. I pointed out that it was President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who on Flag Day, June 14, 1954, signed Public Law 396 adding the phrase: “One Nation Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. What most people are not aware of is that the words: “under God” were taken from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: “… that this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.”

Someone then asked why is it so important to pledge our allegiance to a flag, which is simply a piece of cloth. I reminded them that while they have every right to refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, they should always keep in mind that the pledge is “to the flag and to the republic for which it stands.” A “republic” is where the people are king, ruling through their public servants called representatives. When people pledge allegiance to the flag, they are saying that they are the king, not some usurping dictator. So, it follows that when someone dishonors or disrespects the flag, they are saying they do not want to be king anymore, that they want to relinquish responsibility for their lives to someone else or some other ideology. They are rejecting equality before the law, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, and inalienable rights from the Creator.

As expected, the conversation turned towards the issue of some NFL players who "take a knee" during the National Anthem as a social protest. One young girl pointedly asked me why I would frown upon any player who would "take a knee" as a means of social protest.  I simply reminded her that I simply frown upon anyone or anything that imposes a social cause upon an event, which I have paid a substantial amount of my hard-earned money to watch and enjoy unfettered by identity politics. All in all, it was a spirited conversation with lots of give and take, and I think we all came away with a greater appreciation of each other's views on the issue. 

One of the great things about living in Broad Channel is that the residents of our community celebrate Flag Day 365 days a year. There is barely a street you can walk down without noticing the fact that Old Glory is flying proudly from many, if not most, of the houses in our town.

Broad Channel, why would anyone want to live anywhere else?

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