There is a small Missouri town where the American flag is front and center. Literally, it is right in the middle of an intersection. And anyone traveling through downtown Middletown, Mo., must stop and notice.
The flagpole is at a four-way stop. I’ve attended a few funerals in this small town that boasts just more than 150 residents. Every time I think if you didn’t know the area, there’s a good chance you would run smack dab into that flagpole. But it is still standing, proving me wrong.
PROUD HISTORY: Middletown, Mo., is home to a few brick buildings such as this U.S. post office, which still serves the town. Builders made sure to etch the year — 1918 — for future generations.
According to the plaque located at the base, the flag was dedicated to those who served in World War I from this east-central Missouri town. It dates back to 1918.
Many of the buildings, like the post office, with their brick facades have 1918 etched in them, telling me this was a thriving town in those days, full of pride of country and people. They were willing to share their patriotism with anyone who passed through.
Time to respect
Ronald Reagan once used these words to describe the importance of revering the American flag: “When we honor our flag, we honor what we stand for as a nation — freedom, equality, justice and hope.”
SUNSET VIEW: The setting sun casts a glow on the American flag in Middletown, Mo. It still sits in the center of the road after all these years.
In a world so divided, it is important to stop and remember what truly unites us. Now more than ever, it is important to teach the next generation what we stand for. It is really quite simple. Reagan summed it up in only four words.
Sure there may be times that we as a nation infringe on freedoms, fall short on equality and stumble in the pursuit of justice, but what I love about Reagan is he offered a path forward with his last word choice — hope.
When we teach the next generation to stop and honor the American flag, it is not because our nation did it all “right.” No, it is because with each new day there is a hope to get it right. They need to be reminded of that. These young people and even some of our older generation need to feel hope. The flag is there to remind them to do better.
America is still the greatest country in the world to me. Traveling this great state, I’m reminded just how much our farmers and small-town residents respect this country as the American flag of hope still flies. And in some cases, these towns will not let you pass through them unless you stop and take note.