That's our flag folks, Old Glory, another name for, "The Red White and Blue."
But of course, we all know that, right? Don't be too sure.
Not too long ago one of the television stations ran a, "Man on the Street special, which I watched.
The fellow with the microphone was asking passersby what we celebrate on the Fourth of July. It seems hardly possible, and yet, approximately one-third of the teenagers questioned DID NOT KNOW! These were not tasmanian immigrants or recently transported Rain-forest people. They were English-speaking people and dressed accordingly. The guys with enough material below their waists to whip up a two-man tent with ruffles; the young women with ensembles that would fit in a ceral bowl with enough room left over for the cereal.
The odd thing about it was their nonchalant attitude. They really didn't seems the least bit curious about it. It was enough for them that it was a day off where everybody went on picnics and later set fire to every explosive in the lower half of North America.
As one interviewee put it as he kicked a couple of pounds of denim out of his way, "It's for fun, man, just for fun...n'stuff.
Another willing participant thought the celebration might have been brought to our shores by Marco Polo(huh???) When he stopped here for a quick minute on his way from the Orient.
It is difficult to believe that any of our kids could get through 12 years of schooling and not know something of our Independence Day and how it came about. But then, there are a few determined ones who managed to cover that same span of years without learning to read. "Go figure" as they say.
Maybe I am a little sensitive in this area. My family seems to have gotten a double dose of patriotism and I think I know where mine started.
My materal grandmother was a political organizer and fund-raiser and was forever getting me involved somehow. The summer I turned five she was in charge of a Fourth-of-July rally at a popular, local lake. There was a newly erected stage and a microphone for the speakers. But, there was a song first; God Bless America, that Grandma had taught me to sing. While I was singing the big flag rippled above us and the crowd had their eyes on that beautiful spectacle...Old Glory. Every face looked serious and thankful. I was hooked on my country's flag.
Tell your children and grandchildren what it means--that glorious old flag that still fly's over a free country. Explain to them that there is no king or queen in the White House, (although we may not be pleased with who IS there.) but a president who has been elected by due process. And, it is all possible because of the convictions, actions and sacrifices of like-minded people determined to live as unfettered citizens.
Have a safe Fourth of July, and at least once during that day, pause and see if you can't catch just a whisper of a far-off military fife and drum corps around the bend in the road.