To some, it’s nothing more than a piece of colored cloth waving from the top of a pole in the breeze.
To others, the red, white and blue flag with 13 stripes and 50 stars represents a country where freedom has come at a great cost. Over and over again.
To the veterans who recorded this video, the flag obviously means the world. To them, it’s a reminder that all Americans share the values of equality, freedom and justice.
We’ve seen many different reactions to the flag in recent months. But to me, some of the most memorable responses are the ones that are unrehearsed.
Respect from the Rooftop
Like the three men working on the roof of a home in Maine recently. Nearby at Waterville High School, a football game was about to begin.
The roofers heard the National Anthem being played. So they stopped their work, stood up and held their right hands over their hearts until the song ended.
They had no idea they would be photographed. Or that the image would find its way around the world.
“It is a respect thing for myself,” one of the workers said later. “We did not do this to prove a point.”
Raising the Banner
Like the “Good Samaritan” who picked up a fallen American flag from a lawn in Mission Viejo, California. It landed there after being blown down by high winds.
He parked his car after seeing “Old Glory” lying on the ground. Although he was unable to hang it back up by himself, he planted the pole in the ground. That way the flag could fly until the homeowners returned.
The scene was captured by the homeowners’ video doorbell. It has now been shared many times on social media.
The home’s residents said they do not know the man who came to the flag’s rescue. But they appreciate his patriotism.
An Unplanned Pledge of Allegiance
Like the 7-year-old boy in Utah who recited the Pledge of Allegiance when no one was looking.
As he approached his neighbor’s doorstep to ring the doorbell, he saw an American flag hanging above him.
Instantly, the boy placed his hand over his heart and said the Pledge of Allegiance. Then he continued up the walkway and rang the doorbell.
The boy’s mother was shown her neighbor’s security video footage. She said, “He doesn’t pledge allegiance, that I am aware of, other than at school. Or at an event. I can’t remember a time when he did this on his own.”
Refusing to Back Down
Like the Florida man who refused an order from his homeowner’s association to remove an American flag wrap from his mailbox.
The association said the mailbox belonging to the retired U.S. Navy officer was not “in consonance” with the aesthetic values of the rest of the neighborhood.
Claiming he has had the mailbox display in front of his house for the past four years, the man disputed the order.
After the incident received local news attention in Tallahassee, the homeowner’s association changed its rules. Now they allow American flag wraps on mailboxes.
Long May She Wave
Like the man who spent an average of two hours per day for several months waving an American flag on bridges over several major roads in Denver.
On Memorial Day of this year, he spent six hours waving the flag on the pedestrian bridge at I-25 and Evans Avenue. And at C-470 and Alameda Avenue. And on Highway 285 near Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Normally he waves the flag on his way to and from work as a water purification plumber. But he wanted Memorial Day to be special.
“My wife is happy because it seems to be getting rid of my gut a little bit,” he joked. “I had kind of been looking for something to do that would be a good thing to do for just being patriotic.”
The Right Thing to Do
Maybe that’s the true essence of patriotism. Displaying a patriotic spirit just because it’s the right thing to do. Whether no one is looking or thousands are watching.
I’d love to know what you think. What does the American flag mean to you?
Have you witnessed an act of patriotism that you’d like to share?
If you’d like to let us know, please leave a comment and share you story.
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