GENDUSA COLUMN: My Name is ‘Old Glory’

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, June 30, 2021

As my cousin drove his ATV over the Tennessee hills and green pastures to show me his farm on a recent visit, I could see from afar our American flag flying high above the main house. It was as if the banner owned the sprawling land below, and she waved her stripes declaring so. 

God’s lush acres encased by an azure sky dotted proudly with the red, white, and blue depicted a picture-perfect Americana postcard.

Once we arrived back at the house, I looked toward the banner high atop the flagpole. Old Glory’s ends were frayed and worn, her stripes a bit faded, but she continued to valiantly wave. 

“Yes, I need to purchase a new flag. This one is about worn out,” My cousin stated as he, too, noticed her. 

Old Glory appeared oddly perfect to me because she reflected America today. A bit worn, faded, frazzled and dazed from turmoil. Her nation has suffered from disease, violence, political unrest and loss for months. But she has seen it all before during her lifetime of being America’s symbol of liberty. And even though she is tired, she continues to remind us just where we are and who she is.

Her blood-stained stars and stripes were hoisted by soldiers to proclaim victory against her enemies throughout her history. She proudly stood when all her people were freed from slavery. She marched with women when they demanded their right to vote. She lowered her colors when Presidents were assassinated, and heroes perished. She sadly laid across coffins that held the remains of those who died for her to remain standing.

Our flag flies high above our government buildings, reminding those inside to continually work to maintain her glorious land. Some people treated her with disrespect and even burned her, but she rose again from the ashes.

Old Glory never gives up, she never gives in, and she, who represents all that is good about America, waves her tattered cloth to remind us that we must battle to save her.

Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, “America will never be destroyed from the outside.  If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

If we self-destruct, there will be no more freedom nor honor, and the red, white, and blue will fall to the earth in shreds.   

Selfishness, apathy, lack of respect and extremism will end America. They have battered us these last few years. Recently, personal ideologies often replaced cohesive, healing behavior, thus costing us lives and livelihoods.

When we no longer care about the whole of our nation, we will no longer have the right to voice our personal ideologies.

Bullying and lack of respect for others should and will rip Old Glory to threads.  America was based on a belief in God. God might believe we no longer deserve our abundant country if hurting one another with foul words and violent conduct becomes a norm.

The extreme far-right and left of our government and the radical behavior of self-interest groups are splitting our country apart. The flag represents over 330 million Americans. And most understand a productive government is in the ‘middle’ where compromise and solutions are found. We cannot stand on divided land, or we fall into the abyss it creates.

Unfortunately, some believe America is finished.

Well, I am not one of them. I love this country, its people, and the God who gave her to us. We must pull together and not lose our nation. Those who attempt to divide us should remember that our heritage was built on courage. They, who precariously traveled across the seas to an unknown world, did so to escape persecution, famine, and lack of hope. 

It is here where they fought to keep dreams alive and have the freedom to see them come true. They toiled the earth, built communities, braved the elements, and cherished America. They sent their children to war, begged for innovative medicines to keep their families from succumbing to smallpox, polio, and countless unforgiving diseases. Their courage and sacrifice gave us all that we enjoy today. That alone should force us to stop our oft-inane behavior.

We cannot destroy ourselves. We are a priceless free nation. Old Glory represents a battered and bruised land, but we will become the healers to repair her. With our help, she will continue to proudly wave over our hills and homes so that her stripes and stars can always be seen from afar.

We must endeavor to be what our flag represents; a will to never give up and bravely stand tall even though the winds from storms may fray us.