One June 13, I saw the American flag being hung on poles in downtown Norris City. I thought what is the occasion? Then I remembered that June 14 is Flag Day. I am writing this on Flag Day and I thought I should have written an article about the American flag for Flag Day but of course by the time this article is put in the newspaper, Flag Day will be past. Then I thought, all kinds of articles have been written about the origin of the American flag, but I believe what it stands for is what is important
This year we are celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Statehood for the State of Illinois. On December 3, 1818 Illinois was admitted to the Union and the twenty-first star was added to the number of stars in the field of blue on our American Flag.
Back in 1961, I stood at Fort McHenry at Baltimore, Maryland at the very spot where the American Flag was on a flag pole when Francis Scott Key wrote the American National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. He was on a ship in the harbor when a British ship started bombarding Fort McHenry at Baltimore, Maryland during the War of 1812. He watched throughout the night as this bombardment continued. As it lit up the sky he kept looking for the American Flag flying at this fort to see if it still was flying and that the fort was still holding out and had not surrendered.
I was working in Baltimore when I visited the site of where this flag had flown that he had observed. Standing there and thinking about the words, he wrote to the song, the Star Spangled Banner was enough to bring out goose bumps as you visioned in your mind what he had observed when he wrote the Star Spangled Banner.
Some politicians have criticized the Star Spangled Banner song as being a war song or violent or being bloody. It is not. It is a story of brave patriots who held out and fought for their country. I cannot see how anyone can be so disrespectful to our country to criticize that.
When the American flag goes by in a parade we are supposed to stand quietly at attention with our hand over our heart or salute it is uniform as the American flag passes by. If not in uniform, head covering is to be removed. Now I see people with their hats or caps on talking and not paying attention as the American Flag even passes by in a parade. This is a disgrace and disrespect to not only our country but to the veterans who have fought to defend that flag and our American freedoms.
Just consider the first words of the Pledge of Allegiance. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Country for which it stands.” In that first part of the pledge it plainly says the flag represents America and that any disrespect to the flag is disrespect for America. Yet you hear of flag burnings and people stomping on the American Flag. This is totally an act of disrespect for America.
All of my ancestors came to what is now the United States of America before the Revolutionary War. They supported the American Cause and I have evidence that at least six of my ancestors fought in the Revolutionary Army.
The British government tried to get gun control before the American Revolution. If they had succeeded, we would now be singing “Hail to the Queen.”
I spent thirty-four years of my life as an employee of the United Staes of America which means I worked for the people of the United States. It is like if you are an employee of a corporation. You don’t work for the corporation since it is not a person. You work for the stockholders of that corporation, who are people.
I worked during eight presidential terms being from both parties. My loyalty was strictly to the people of the United States and not to any political party.
In closing this article, it grieves me to see the disrespect now that is given to our American Flag and to our American National Anthem even by American politicians who should be the first ones to stand up and call for respect for Our Country, Our Flag, and Our National Anthem.
If any readers have any information or pictures or even comments to share with the readers of these articles, please contact me at Edward Oliver, P. O. Box 456, Norris City, Il 62869, or email me at email@example.com.