It cost $14.95, including mounting brackets and a three-foot wood pole, but the red, white, and blue American flag that I place on the fencepost at the corner of the house each day at sunrise when the weather’s good represents principles and ideals of inestimable worth.
This year’s flag is, I suppose, the tenth at this house — a new one each year since we moved here a decade ago June 28. Some came from Lowe’s, some from Wally World, but basically the same flag kit, except I bought a separate upright mount rather than the angle bracket that is part of the kits.
Most days, when I’m working at home, and my eyeballs are fried from staring at words and images on a screen, I’ll take a break mid-morning, walk around the backyard, pull a weed here and there, then sit a few minutes in the shade of the oaks overhanging the deck and look at the flag there on the fence post, bathed in brilliant backlit sun from the east, a sharp, bold image against the background of dark oaks across the street in my neighbor’s yard.
If there’s wind, I watch the flag furl and unfurl, the undulations of the red and white stripes as it flutters with the air currents, each movement different than the one before. Sometimes, in late afternoon, a shaft of golden sunlight will find an opening in the branches of the oaks and shine like a spotlight on the flag, creating a scene reminiscent of an old master’s painting.
I never tire of these beautiful sights.
In the 242 years since the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, almost 700,000 people have died on battlefields in this country and around the globe, with that many or more service-related deaths, all in the protection of our country's flag and the principles imbued in it.
In this week when we celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s independence, amid the cookouts, parades, fireworks, and commercialization at every turn, that Star Spangled Banner still proudly waves, as it has, in many iterations, since the first official flag of 13 stars and 13 stripes was approved by the Second Continental Congress in 1777.
In the 242 years since the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, almost 700,000 people have died on battlefields in this country and around the globe, with that many or more service-related deaths, all in the protection of that flag and the principles imbued in it — men and women, many just teenagers or in their early 20s, whose lives and potential contributions in every field, every profession, were snuffed out so this noblest of experiments in democracy and personal freedoms might endure.
These stanzas from "America(My Country ‘Tis of Thee)" are as apropos today as when they were written by Rev. Samuel Smith in 1832: “Long may our land be bright / With Freedom's holy light / Protect us by thy might / Great God, our King … Our starry flag unfurled / The hope of all the world / In peace and light impearled / God hold secure.”