The American Flag – It’s Not a Toy

Tomorrow is Independence Day, or the Fourth of July for the more casual observer.  My band will be participating in two parades tomorrow.  These are personally my two favorite parades.  While the spectators are clapping their hands to the music and waving they’re flags, for us it’s a parade of American flags.

There are few sights more stirring than to turn that corner onto the main thoroughfare of Chatham and see a sea of American flags flying.  It’s worth marching through the heat and humidity to catch another glimpse of Old Glory in her glory.  In the other parade, which winds around the suburban streets of Florham Park, one family displays a giant American flag in their front yard.

There is a sad side to the parade story, however.  After the parade is over, and the band has gotten to the end, grateful for the cold soda and beer, and the families go on to their barbecues, picnics, and swimming pools, the American flags they’d been waving are abandoned in the gutters.

Old Glory deserves a better fate.  My band mates and I have devoted ourselves to parade flag rescue.  Since we normally have to walk back to our cars, we pick up as many discarded flags as we can find.  Those that are badly damaged I take to a flag drop-box we have here in my town.

Parents, please teach your children to respect the American flag.  It’s very cute when we pass by and we see the toddlers waving the flags and trying to march in step with us.  But they also have a tendency to play with the flags, tear at them, hit each other with them, and wipe their faces with them.  Mostly, they drop them.  They’re too young to understand the significance of the flag.  They don’t know about all the men and women who sacrificed their lives for that flag.

It’s up to you to teach them proper respect for the flag and proper flag etiquette.  Even the adults have forgotten the rules, if they ever knew them.  Men are supposed to take off their hats as the flag passes, and women and girls are supposed to put their hands over their hearts.  All you have to do to remember is to think of the soldiers and sailors who are fighting and dying for that flag right now.

As we go by, we may be playing “You’re A Grand Ol’ Flag.”  It’s one of six marches we play.  Sing along with us as we play:  “You’re the emblem of the land we love.  The home of the free and the brave.”

“Every heart beats true to the red, white and blue and there’s never a boast or brag.  But should auld acquaintance be forgot, keep your eye on the grand old flag!”



Published in: on July 3, 2013 at 2:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

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