Learning the symbolism of our nation’s flag is an important task. Most schools have a flag on a flagpole outside, near the school’s entrance. Inside the school there are small flags in each classroom and a large flag in the gymnasium, auditorium and most general assembly areas. The custom of rising and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag should not offend any American citizen; nor should it offend any visitor of guest to our country. Guests and visitors are not required to participate although they may wish to stand out of courtesy.
As a child I learned the reason for the Pledge of Allegiance and developed a deep respect for the symbolism of the flag. I was honored to be allowed to participate even in this small way to begin my school day with this symbolic gesture. Teachers spent quite a bit of time explaining the meaning of the colors on the flag, the meaning of the stars, the meaning of the stripes, the history and meaning of the flag itself, the part the flag played in our country’s formation, battles and victories. We were taught when and where the flag could and should be displayed. We were taught how to care for the flag. We were taught the respect that the flag deserved.
As a military spouse raising two daughters I was proud to see them being taught even more than I had learned about the flag, military service, service to our country, the honor of being a United States citizen and living on many military installations. They not only participated in standing to honor the flag or to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at school but our family was honored to participate in such events at all installation events and parades, meetings, gatherings, beginning of the day, end of the day, and even before movies at the installation theatre.
At my father’s funeral he was given military honors as a veteran of WWII and his flag from his casket was presented to my mother. That flag was folded, framed and displayed in my mother’s home. The flag is now displayed in our home along with a picture of my father, and a letter from then President Nixon. That flag has a special place in our home because of it’s meaning and symbolism.
Oftentimes at community events in the civilian community the flag will begin to be carried past a crowd and it is interesting to see how people begin to stand, remove their hats, put their hands on the hearts and quietly and proudly observe as the flag passes by.
Children follow suit as the adults and older children provide examples of the respect we pay to the flag and the way that we pay respect to our nation’s symbol.
It is always so wonderful on national holidays to see the flag displayed along streets, on homes, in and on buildings that usually do not display the flag. Seeing the flag displayed proudly, prominently, and plentifully is quite a tribute that we as a nation are able to enjoy together.