When I look at the American Flag, I don't just see a piece of red, white and blue cloth. I see a country, who in 230 years, has withstood turmoil, wars, death and destruction only to emerge stronger and better. I see our ancestors working from dawn til dusk to make the country a better place for future generations.
I see a history of American soldiers offering up the ultimate sacrifice just so this "piece of cloth" could continue to wave proudly - only to have it cover their coffin in the end. I see years of generosity - money and human assistance- here at home and flowing from our borders to lands beyond the sea.
I see a country where freedom reigns supreme - freedom to work hard to grab the brass ring and freedom to sit in front of the TV waiting for the monthly handout. Freedom to speak your mind and the freedom to look like an ass when you just can't help yourself.
I see generations of children putting their little hands over their hearts and saying the Pledge of Allegiance to start the school day. I see children clamoring for the right to stand up at the front of the class and hold the American Flag for the Pledge.
Are we a perfect country? Of course not. We have made our share of mistakes. The overriding difference is our country never gave up. No matter how devastating a mistake was to our national psyche, our flag still flew proudly across the country.
Despite the inherent goodness and rich history, there are many that see our flag as a sign of oppression - of national pride on the same level as racism. Some say our flag is a symbol of death and destruction. In a way, they are right. It is a symbol of a nation that overcame death and destruction to soar to heights unknown to man.
So on this Fourth of July, I will not sit back and let others take all that is good in the USA and throw it away for political expediency. I will fight to keep our country true to its morals and values. I will support our soldiers despite the claims that in order to support the troops, you have to join the military. I will not remain silent when those, with questionable and suspect agendas, seek to undermine our country at every opportunity.
On this Fourth of July, I will not hang my head in shame. I will celebrate the good fortune of being born in the greatest country in the world. I will raise my flag and hold it up high. I am an American and I am damn proud of it.