As is his widely celebrated reputation in the community as being one of the Oregon Coast’s most passionate patriots, Tony Molina of Siletz was out early this morning with some young people setting up American Flags along Newport’s Coast Highway. Thank you, Tony, for the pictures.
If Tony was sitting at my computer he would type out the fact that June 14th is officially Flag Day in the United States, first established by the Second Continental Congress in 1777, long before the Constitution was a gleam in anyone’s eye. In 1916 (coming up on 100 years!), then President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14th as Flag Day. In August of 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress.
As with any object that symbolizes something profoundly important, we should all reflect on what has been done in its name, and our name, and use the thoughts we’re most proud to help us sort through the very difficult challenges our country faces. Protecting our freedoms from foreign enemies, upholding our freedoms and fighting discrimination at home. Struggling for the rights of every American individual and family to have a REAL opportunity to get ahead instead of being priced out of the market place of commerce, education and civic life. If we are to restore what we used to call “The Great American Life,” we need to take seriously the REQUIRED commitment of duty, honor, country…COUNTRY. A country filled with citizens, not consumers. Citizens, not “lefties” or “righties.” UNITED States, not just red states or blue states, but rather filled with American Citizens who fully inform themselves on the critical issues that must be dealt with everyday and which cannot be properly addressed with whatever time is left over after everyone’s done watching television.
With our hearts and our minds we salute the flag and remind ourselves that “freedom and justice for all” comes about not by letting someone else give it to us. Democracy is not, and has never been, a spectator sport. If we don’t fulfill our individual citizen responsibilities to make democracy work, history has proven repeatedly, that those who do not have our best interest at heart, will step into the breach, and take it from us. We are in such times. Those who think being an American is a gift instead of a job will eventually lose both the gift and their job.
There are many bullhorns blaring all around us this election season. Let us not allow their loudness or repetition of message distract us from the truth that we must all do our OWN homework. The American Flag requires each of us to be well informed and active CITIZENS so that our flag’s stars and stripes continue to fly bright and vibrant in the steady breeze of a healthy democracy.