A symbol of appreciation
Over the last couple of years there has been great controversy in reference to the American flag. There have been many discussions about what is honoring, dishonoring, disrespecting it, dishonoring our troops and those who have died fighting for our freedom. We have condemned those who have stood up or not stood up because they have felt the principles for which the flag symbolizes is not representing them. The flag is the symbol that should remind us of the words and principals behind the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It is those documents that guarantee the rights of all American citizens; equality, equal representation, justice and fair play, and the fight against injustice, inequality, hate and racism is not over even though many Americans want to believe it is. It is continuous battle. When people around the world see our flag, they see a symbol of hope, opportunity and equality.
However, that is not the point of this article. This article is about those who have talked about patriotism and honoring our troops. This is about the ones who supposedly thank the troops for their service and sacrifices to keep us free. Those who will have barbecues, family gatherings, drink, talk about commitments and pray for our troops, etc. Yet after all that is said and done, the facts and reality speak volumes about our actions as Americans.
For the last two years, I have driven around the city of Pocatello on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July to see how many people are displaying the American flag, the symbol of our nation honoring our troops, past and present. What I have witnessed is truly shameful and disgraceful. In reality, with all the hoo-ha about the flag, there was a dismal showing by a vast number of American citizens in Pocatello and Chubbuck. As I drove down Yellowstone Avenue through Chubbuck I could almost count on my fingers the number of flags on display. This included banks, credit unions, shops, fast food places, restaurants, the list goes on and on. Equally as bad was driving around neighborhoods. It seems we are more concerned about sales and eating than we are about displaying the flag on this very important occasion. We are either too lazy or too cheap, convenient patriots, or we just like to hear ourselves talk and it is not work our valuable time to display the American flag at our homes or businesses. Solidarity. If you go to many of our stores, the price of the American flags can be expensive. In my mind, all these big department stores should make sure every person in the community has a flag to display. How often do you go by the flag display at the store, look at the price and keep going? I guess there is a price on our freedom that we are willing to pay, whether it’s 99 cents or $10.
The reality is, if you honestly want to thank our troops, let them know they are appreciated for their efforts. An easy way to do it is to display a flag. It’s the principle that matters. How would it make you feel if you saw every home and business displaying the flag? If we really do care, NO home, business, church, school should be without a flag on display in their yard or business. It’s not always the big things that make a difference; more often than not, it’s the little things that truly count. My question to all of those who did not have a flag on display at their homes or businesses: Why not?
The Fourth of July will be here soon. What will you do this time?
Ram Eddings of Pocatello is the former coordinator of the Idaho State University Diversity Center.