Monday, May 27, 2013

Let Freedom Ring

The following article appeared in The Dallas Morning News a few weeks after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. I'm sharing it this Memorial Day, as we honor those who gave their blood to keep our flag flying high.

The current surge of patriotism has flag makers working overtime and merchants clearing shelves. Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer, sold 115,000 flags the day of the terrorist attacks and 200,000 the day after.

From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans, white with foam, flags are everywhere, adding red, white and blue to the otherwise autumn landscape.

To me, it is a beautiful sight.

Of course, I am one of those patriotic souls who flies the flag year-round. One was dangling on my door the morning terror invaded our shores, and another one was hanging on a wall inside my house.

I guess you could say that flag fanaticism is a way of life for me. Something about the sight of those broad stripes and bright stars makes me weepy and proud all at once. Always has; always will.

Despite what one might think, my rigid respect for the Stars and Stripes isn’t due to personal losses suffered during times of war. Instead, it is due to a lack of personal losses suffered during times of war.

You see, Old Glory represents something of great worth that I didn’t pay for. It is freedom’s signature, you might say. And the only reason I enjoy freedom’s immeasurable rewards is because someone else paid the ultimate price. Someone brave. Someone unselfish. Someone human, just like me.

Needless to say, I also cry and get goose bumps before the first measure of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is complete.

Oh, sure, the tongue-tangling words are difficult to remember and the melody is quite challenging to sing, but complicated or not, the song means something to me.

It reminds me of those wars I didn’t fight, those chaotic nights I didn’t endure and the shed blood that wasn’t mine.

Some suggest we establish a new national anthem—one that is prettier and easier to sing. But I hope we don’t. Freedom’s price wasn’t pretty or easy. The least I can do is learn a difficult song in commemoration.

No, I don’t sound like Whitney Houston belting out, “o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave,” but I belt it out just the same. My eyes never leave the flag and my hand never leaves my heart.

In fact, I have little patience for people who stand around with their hands in their pockets, chewing gum, looking bored while the national anthem is being sung.

The way I see it, if you can’t spend a few minutes honoring our flag and the brave soldiers who gave their lives defending our country, then you’re a spoiled, ungrateful brat who needs to find another country to live in.

I don’t know how long the current flag-waving gusto will last, but I hope it isn’t just a trendy, ephemeral thing. I hope it continues long after the final piece of evil-inspired rubble has been removed and the last human remains have been taken away.

But even if it doesn’t, my flag-flying habits won’t cease. Come rain or shine, peace or war, I will continue displaying the Stars and Stripes in conspicuous places, as I always have.

Not only is it my way of saying thanks to those who died that I might enjoy a life of freedom, but during these dark days of great loss and uncertainty, it is my way of saying, “God bless America…through the night with a light from above." ♦


  1. Good post, Gayle. Our country isn't perfect, but I would't choose to live anywhere else.

    Have a wonderful weekend and holiday.


  2. I remember the surge of patriotism after 9-1-1. It was amazing! It has died down a little, but I know that deep inside of every American there is pride. We are blessed to live in one of the greatest countries in the world. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

  3. Gayle, this is a wonderful article. Thank you so much for posting it and linking it up this weekend!
    I hope your weekend is extra special!

  4. A wonderful article, Gayle ~ Have a great weekend.

  5. Great article....Thanks for posting it ..

  6. An excellent post! We all need to keep our patriotism fires burning. Have a wonderful weekend.

  7. A beautiful article, Gayle. It was a beautiful thing the way the flag was displayed after 9/11. I wish that spirit and the spirit of togetherness had lasted. Now it seems our nation is torn farther apart than ever. It's a shame it takes such a catastrophe to bring us together and even then it doesn't last very long. You are such a good writer. I'm so glad you share with us on Spiritual Sundays.

  8. beautiful post. and thank God for those who go...who fight...for be free and to Him to won our ulitmate freedom. Have a great weekend

  9. Each week I have a tough time finding adjectives to describe your great posts and writing. This week I'm just going to let my wife, Charlotte's words, "speak" for me. Thank you for the inspiring post.

  10. The reason the flag is so revered by me is that it does represent the nation where we can be free to live and excel as far as we feel we can go. And yes, someone, just like me, just like my brother, my sister, my father, died so I could have this life. Oh, Lord, be will all those who are active duty to preserve this kind of life for me.

  11. I love this. I come from a long line of flag waving patriots and share the sentiments written here.

    I love the part about it being all the more meaningful because I didn't come from a generation who lost many to war.

    To me, the war lost were men who lived in memorial but not in my own memory. That made them all the more "heroic".

    I'm rambling much, but I just wanted to say that this was a wonderful article.

  12. I had to work all weekend, I kept saying to myself I need to put our flag out. I never did, I was to tired, or to this or to that. I feel so bad about this. Your post was is perfect today, and I'm sure your voice is beautiful.
    God Bless,

  13. I am delighted that I found your blog this evening.

    I am also a Texas blogger.

    I'll be back!

    White Spray Paint

  14. I love to see people proudly flying their flag. When our house is finished with all the renovations we will fly the U.S. and Southern one for my hubby with the Australian one for me.
    May God continue to Bless our countries and its people.
    Its wonderful to live in freedom.