Proud of the flag

Before the dawn's early light on July 4, 2014, we traveled to a small town a few miles away for a traditional Independence Day parade. The unadorned float followed obediently behind our truck, willing to be decorated and decked out with American flags from many pages of America's history. She was festooned with patriotic bunting and beribboned in red, white and blue on every possible niche, bumper and antenna as the sun made her own timid appearance. Cool breezes ruffled tree tops and skirted fenders, promising a milder morning than previous years.

My hands were full ... full of American flags to joyfully hand to parade-goers. Twenty five, 50 were gone in no time, with my eyes searching for the eyes of those who really cared to have a new America flag, real flag wavers. As I walked alongside the decorated float, I saw a layer of America I cherish, and a layer I do not. Some sat on the curb but did not stand, in their half-hearted desire for another flag for their collection.

"If you want a flag, you have to grab it – just like our freedom!" I heard the words. As I walked briskly by – remember, I am walking at "float pace," not a leisurely stroll – I held out at least one hundred more flags and, one at a time, gave them to those who grabbed the flag from my hand. One little boy ran to catch me for his very own flag.

This is the spirit I treasure the day after the day after Independence Day: The bright eyed, striped polo-shirted youngster, the veteran with the Vietnam hat, the over-fifty sisters dressed as twins in their red, white and blue with silly glasses. All different and yet all had one thing in common. They stood as the flag went by and grabbed for the flags given freely.

The flags, free on Independence Day. Stand up and claim it. Grab it as it passes by. One person yelled: "Hey, you missed me!" No, the flag did not miss you. You missed the flag ... in apathy sitting comfortably on the sidelines. The blood of our forefathers has been shed. Young men and women volunteer for today's freedom cause. All we have to do is stand up for what we believe. Grab it. Remember it. Please. Today.

Brenda Jessel

Newnan



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