Charlotte and I returned Sunday evening from the AMVETS state convention in Gatlinburg, and have been resting ever since and are ready to get back to it.
I did manage to learn a couple of things that should be of some assistance to the teachers in our schools when classes resume. More on that in a future column.
Something that has been biting at me for a while is just how we take our freedom for granted.
We get up in the morning and go about our daily routine, falling further into a “gerbile on a wheel” routine.
One area that some seem to really take for granted is our flag, the one known as “Old Glory.” It seems that the history of this standard has been forgotten and more or less skipped over.
I can remember when I was in school that we were taught about the American flag as part of our U.S. history course. I don’t even know whether or not that subject is still taught.
So, with my boss’ permission, I would like to give you a brief catch-up on the history of this flag that we fly and, at times, take for granted — and shouldn’t, because she has paid a heavy price.
This version was put together by Commander Tank Stone of the U.S. Military All-Stars. Please read carefully.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am the flag of the United States of America. My name is Old Glory. Look up and see me. I was born on June 14, 1777, with just 13 stars and stripes representing our first 13 colonies.
“I stand for truth, honor and freedom. I help remind Americans of our history and our sacrifice.
“I have led our troops in every war: Gettysburg, the trenches of France and the beaches of Normandy, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and scores of distant lands long forgotten.
“I remember because I was there. During World War II, I was raised over Mt. Suribachi by five Marines and a Navy corpsman on Feb. 23, 1945.
Three of the five men who raised me that day — Sousley, Block and Strank — paid the ultimate price during the battle of Iwo Jima.
“More than a decade later, I was in space with astronaut Neil Armstrong when he was the first human to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969.
“More than 500 million people watching us on television heard him say, ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’
“As a silent witness to all of America’s worst and finest hours, I enjoy nothing more than to wave in a deep-blue peacetime sky, but my finest hour comes when I fly at half-mast to honor our heroes.
“My most difficult days are when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving mother at the graveside of a fallen son or daughter.
“I remain a beacon for freedom. People travel from every corner of the world for a chance at a better life here in the United States.
“I have been burned, torn and trampled on streets of countries we have helped set free. I was raised on Sept. 11, 2001, at ground zero after the attack on New York City.
“I am with you now as you read this. Be proud of who you are and of who we are together!
“My name is Old Glory.”
Think about it.
TONY VANDYKE lives at 103 Cactus Cove, Paris. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.