“It’s been a long time coming…… Gonna be a long time gone”---— David Crosby
For the last four years, every time I saw someone flying the flag, I felt violated, even fearful. Everything I ever felt about it: from saying the Pledge of Allegiance as just an elementary school kid, to flag waving Veteran’s parades, to simply going to the Ballpark for a relaxing baseball game.
I couldn’t pledge allegiance. I didn’t want to. I would rather kneel to ask for forgiveness for her.
I was gutted with fear every time I saw the flag tied like a hostage to the back of threatening jacked up pickup trucks with a MAGA minion roaring by or raging into a parking lot where I was doing something as mundane as shopping. Even going on the lake for a sunny ride became dominated by leviathan vessels filled with White privileged men terrorizing all in their wake with Trump flags and MY flag, gagged and bound sailing away.
Then came January 6 and it’s insurrectionist terrorists had one again taken my flag hostage. My Flag was used to beat police officers, used to break glass in MY US Capitol, to invade and desecrate the high Church of what I had so hoped would now be reclaimed by the Democratic majority, The majority we had all worked so very hard to elect to ransom our captive Flag after four years of her daily beatings and bruises and spittle.
I so feared my flag was no longer a hostage but a victim of Murder. Bloodied, bruised and regenerated like Frankenstein into a blue and black flag demonic symbol of despise.
But this July 4th, this day in 2021 I am taking her back. Her red stands for the blood sacrificed for her. While she has been used badly by many throughout her history, she still stands for hope for millions.
She stood for her own survival many many times. From Gettysburg to Andersonville to Antietam; From a balcony at Ford’s theatre on a Good Friday while her savior and lasting advocate Abraham Lincoln bled for her. She stood for her Union.
She was proudly raised as a testament for equality so many many times. From Suffragettes fighting for the right to vote, to Coal Miners fighting for voice and a living wage she was there. She held us together and not apart during the Great Depression when perhaps one of her greatest advocates FDR called her to one again call us to recognize that all we had to Fear was Fear itself. She was raised to Unite America, to bring folks from the brink of hopelessness to hope. From bread lines to earned bread on a common table.
She was raised to fight Fascism in Europe. She bled with us on so many forgotten fields and she brought the hope of her many stars to a newly liberated Europe.
She proudly waved as John F Kennedy brought youthful vision and hope to a changing world and nation. She cried when he died.
She was raised to once again fight for civil rights for African Americans. She wept on bridges walked upon by courageous men like DR. King and John Lewis who were beaten for her and the hope and promise she maintained that all were created equal under her shadow. Yet she still waved and called the conscience of America.
She was shredded on the battlefields of Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan and the Men and Women who served her bled for reasons even they never realized or deserved or understood.
Today, this July 4th, 2021 I will celebrate the hope she still inspires. It has never been nor never will be easy to keep her proudly flying as a symbol for the best in us. It is a fight every single day as it has been some 200 plus years. But by God, I will never forget where she came from and where she can still go.
So today I fly MY Flag, YOUR flag, OUR Flag in admiration and hope for the future that every one of us Kossacks fight for every single day.
I will close with the words of OUR President Joe Biden. “May God Bless the United States of America and may God Bless our Troops”