Old Glory

Published 11:19 am Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Droplets of moisture cling to fronds of graceful ferns in the wee hours of early morning. A firethorn struggling to survive after being unceremoniously yanked from its previous home thankfully gulps in the welcome rain. The entire landscape changes as if by magic from a shade of dull to a brighter, deeper green.

Music from my feathered friends is void as they huddle together in some secret place. Soon they venture forth from hiding to dance and play in delight. A slight, gently blowing breeze wafts through the porch stirring the stars and stripes of Old Glory, dampened by the rain but proudly proclaiming her rich heritage. Men and women spilled their lifeblood for her; she begs us to remember the hopes and dreams of our Founding Fathers, who believed in her enough to stand and fight.

She longs for men and women today to stand strong and proud. She dreams of an electorate that remembers the sacrifices of those who gave their full measure of devotion to the nation she so fondly represents.    

Betsy Ross’s nimble fingers sewed the first American flag in May of 1776.  Thirteen stars, one for each state of the budding nation, formed a circle in the top left corner. Many changes followed as other stars were added in representation of each state accepted into the United States of America. On Aug. 21,1959, the 50th star representing the new state of Hawaii completed what Betsy had begun almost 200 years prior.

The landscape of our country has changed much with the passing of time. Some changes have been welcome, but others would, I fear, cause our Founding Fathers to wonder what had become of the constitution they worked so hard to pen. One thing is certain; the right to vote for our representatives is something that none of us should take lightly or casually. In the supercharged political climate of today it is sometimes difficult to decipher fact from fiction. But nonetheless, I think it is our duty as Americans not only to vote, but also to study the candidates and make an educated decision.

My dad taught history to high school students and always took a great interest in the political process. I can still hear his words, “Now Jan, we need to talk about the election and decide who we are planning to vote for. You know if we don’t vote in a family block we will cancel one another’s vote.” Lively discussions always followed, and we usually did come to a meeting of the minds and vote together, but I digress.

One particular tattered flag whose eyes have seen incredible destruction and evil, but has also been privy to exceptional acts of heroism and sacrifice, holds a special place of honor in our nation’s capital. She was rescued from the twin towers and symbolizes determination, strength and fortitude in the face of adversity to many who know her story. She now resides at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., for all to see and remember.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.