I saw our flag with her stars and her stripes, her red, her white, and her blue, waving against the patchwork soft blue and white sky. It was solemn and the wind allowed her to stutter along in rippling motions. She was confident and she was alive.
Below her, on the ground, cars drove by unaware of her presence and the summer sun beat down upon her and she continued her daily deterioration. Just like each of us she grows a little bit older with every passing moment. I grew up in an America wherein our loyalties, our patriotism, and our sole drive to continue to exist was never once questioned. I grew up in an America wherein that flag was something you might see hanging from someone’s porch every other house or from the back of a truck or on a school’s flagpole. She was always there, an observer to our daily lives but always silent.
The silent flag is today the only resolute pair of eyes trained on the future and trained on our eternal existence as a beacon of hope and freedom, not for the world, but for ourselves.
We have our flags and our memorials and our marble statues to remind us of the places we have been and let us know why we have let so many of our brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers die in the name of this nation. The blood we shed at the altar of freedom demonstrates our true dedication to the love that fuels this nation’s constant development.
The silent flag accepted our brothers and sisters as they were freed from the bonds of slavery. The silent flag united this nation against the evils of Nazism overseas in Europe. The silent flag welcomed home the beleaguered and the weary after every war with the warmth and the love of a mother. The silent flag reminded you always how to act with respect and gave us guidance like the familiar hand of a father. The silent flag still waves above this nation and looks down betrayed, disgusted, and saddened at the ways in which her people have forgotten about her and what she exists for.
We are now beneath her and looking up, our faces covered in dirt and blood, our name sullied by the faithlessness we have allowed to take over our hearts and our minds. Our ears remain closed to the voices of our brothers and sisters and the truth is now, more than ever, so mired by self-aggrandizement and self-serving falsehoods that only perpetuate our suffering.
The silent flag will always be there to comfort her people. Old glory is just that, the glory of this nation. In one simple star-and-stripe pattern, we found a symbol that everyone the world over can look to as a symbol of freedom and democracy and perseverance, but today it is more important that us right here in the United States of America look to her and remember who we are.
We are not savages fighting for our individual tribes, we are one tribe fighting to keep the most beautiful and loving experiment that ever became a success alive.
E pluribus unum – out of many (individuals), one.