Born out of tyranny my country and my flag is flown, respected and is often feared by those all around the globe who seek to tear down her ideals. Born out of oppression, my country and my flag represents freedom, peace and rest to those who will come here through the proper channels established to ensure equality and protection under the laws that set us apart from the governments that those seeking to find refuge desire to escape.
My country and my flag were given birth by a handful of people who were seeking religious freedom — freedom to worship God as they saw fit, and not as dictated by government. As both my country and my flag were born based on the ideals of religious freedom and Christian principals, both have come under attack and have been diluted to almost unrecognizable entities, yet through it all, just like the love of God, my country and my flag still permits its people to have and exercise a choice. But make no mistake about it, though some go left, some go right, and some claim to take a central path, God is still in control. He blesses those who bless His people, and He has the final say.
People of the world, though they may open wide their mouths of hate and distain for my country and my flag, their mouths are also open wide to receive the food our farmers grow each year. Governments of foreign countries may greet my country and my flag with hateful rhetoric, but their citizens often greet our visitors like “rock stars.”
Though my country and my flag stand strong and proud, I believe its demise, if it is ever to be, will come from within. By its very nature, not only division, but divisiveness tears at its fabric more each day. Factions within our people who have such a “free to all” or a “give it all away” attitude, which I believe brings their motives into question. However, it is their freedom to do so that makes my country and my flag so envied by the world.
When I was a child and began school, each morning before classes we prayed first, then with hands over our hearts, we pledged allegiance to the flag. To a minority (versus a majority), these two acts seemed pointless, but they are wrong. Those two acts instilled in us a knowledge of where we came from, how we got here and where we were going. As a result of “We the People” standing by and allowing the minority to rule, we now have a sense of neither.
In the words of singer-songwriter Merle Haggard in his 1970 classic “The Fightin’ Side of Me” he wrote, “if you don’t love it, leave it.” And while in a politically correct society many deem such language has hate speak, Haggard’s advice was sound. The line doesn’t indicate a force fed way of life, but rather one in which change can come through proper channels and proper means. And with that in mind, I sing along with Merle in saying, “if you don’t love it, leave it.”
I want my country and my flag to continue to wave tall and proud over this land for my children, their children and generations to come with all its imperfections and flaws, but fortified by its central ideals based deeply in God-fearing principals. Then, the imperfections and flaws will continue to work themselves out.
My country and my flag continue to be my country and my flag no matter who is elected as president. In a true democracy, nobody gets their way all the time. Many have been the times I felt I “lost” a vote because my candidate did not win. In retrospect, I discovered it all worked out the way it was supposed to. The hatred and divisiveness that has emerged over the most recent presidential election has, in my opinion, lowered the status and stature of “We the People.” Remember folks, we have a means of changing things if we don’t like it, and that is known as an election. After all, aren’t we supposed to be a civilized nation?
My country and my flag have taken very good care of me and mine throughout our lives. I thank God for allowing me to be born here and to be blessed with the freedom to live and speak as I choose. I am proud of my country and my flag, and yes, I am proud to be an American.
Herb Day is a longtime local radio personality and singer-musician. You can email him at HEKAMedia@yahoo.com and follow his work at www.HerbDayVoices.com.