Flag Day: Celebrate it By Thinking About It

Happy Flag Day!!!!

It is celebrated today because it is also the birthday of the United States Army.
Happy birthday to the Army and thank you to the men and women who have served in it, as well as their families.

I love this country, and the flag that represents it. I’ve even run five full marathons while carrying it.
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However, I’m troubled today by those who triumphantly wave it without seeking to understand nor honor the values it represents.

The flag stands for the idea that we can share this land and a love for it even if we have different religions, philosophies, skin colors, lifestyle preferences, or other differences. It is a big place, with plenty of room for all of us.

I’m disappointed with the number of people who in one moment will be posting on social media about how great this country is, and in the next will be absolutely destroying the worth of those who aren’t just like them.

I’m saddened by those who don’t understand the importance of honesty in democracy. Those who are so willing to dishonor this country by spreading stories that are undeniably false, only with the intention of driving a giant wedge between us.

Truth is patriotic.

I’m troubled by those who think the only way to love this country is blindly and without question. This country was founded on the idea that citizens would hold it accountable with question and dissent when appropriate. We even take the third monday of each January off to honor a protestor. (The only federal holiday to honor a single human.)

Sometimes our greatest friends are the ones who make us look in the mirror.

The Story Behind Flag Day:
A man named Bernard Cigrand is considered the father of flag day. He pushed for it for thirty years before it was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson.

He was born into a family that had just immigrated from Luxemborg. He was the youngest of six, and the family was poor.

Before the age of ten, he sold scrap metal and rags to buy books. At age 12 he sold books for the U.S. Bible and Book Club, earning 25 cents for each sale.

He then became the conductor on a steam barge, then a teacher. His teaching salary was $40 a month, but he was able to put himself through dentistry school at night. Not only did he graduate first in his dental class, he went on to become the Dean of the Columbian Dental College, which is now the Dental school at the University of Chicago at Illinois.

Mr. Cigrand developed a deep sense of patriotism. He was very appreciative of the opportunities he had to make himself anything that he wanted here In America. He wanted to designate a day where others would recognize how fortunate they were to live in this country, and honor the flag that represented it.

He wanted others to recognize how good they had it.
Cigrand spoke all over country, and published over 300 articles calling for the United States to have “Flag Day.” He got his first one in 1894. It was held in five different Chicago parks, with over 300,000 kids attending.

It was repeated the next year, and kept growing. Finally, in 1916, President Woodrow wilson declared the first Federal flag day.

Thank you Mr. Cigrand.

The American flag was never more popular at anytime than after the Civil War. It was seen as a symbol of unity that could help heal the country and see past our differences.

That might be worth thinking about today.

Celebrate flag day. Celebrate and love this wonderful country, but also think about it.

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