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Do you remember Old Glory?

By Roger Hegland, Alexandria, MN

I was in the Air Force for over 24 years. I have strong patriotic feelings and while I do not claim authorship of the following, I think it appropriate to remind everyone with Memorial Day close and Independence Day on the horizon.

“Hello, remember me? Some people call me Old Glory, others call me the Star Spangled Banner, but whatever they call me, I am your flag, the flag of the United States of America.

Something has been bothering me, so I need to talk it over with you, because it is about you and me.

I remember some time ago, people would line up on both sides of the street to watch the parade, and naturally, I was leading every one, proudly waving in the breeze.

When your father saw me coming, he immediately removed his cap and placed it against his left shoulder so his hand was directly over his heart, remember?

And you, I remember, were standing there straight as a soldier. You didn’t have a cap, yet you were giving the right salute. Remember your little sister? Not to be outdone, she was saluting the same as you with her right hand over her heart. Remember?

What has happened? I’m still the same old flag. Oh, I’ve added a few more stars, and a lot more blood has been shed since those parades of long ago. But now somehow, I don’t feel as proud as I used to feel. When I come down your street, you just stand there with your hands in your pockets laughing and talking to our friends.

You may give me a small glance, and then you look away. I see children running around and shouting; they don’t seem to know who I am. I saw one man take his cap off, then he looked around and when he didn’t see anyone else take off their hat, he quickly put it on again.

Is it a sin to be patriotic today? Have you forgotten what I stand for and where I have been? Anzio, Guadalcanal, Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq!

Take a look at the memorial honor rolls and see the names of those patriotic Americans who gave their lives to keep this republic free. When you salute and honor me you are actually saluting and honoring them.

Well, it won’t be long until I’ll be coming down your street again. So when you see me, please stand straight and place your hand over your heart so I will know you have remembered.

I will salute you by waving back!”