Saturday morning I was watching the sun rise over the river and I decided that I needed to raise the flag. You know the one, the flag everyone keeps to fly on the 4th, Independence Day. As I unfurled the old flag from the staff it is hung from I began to cry. The flag is old, my father's flag. Fifty years old maybe, present at many 4th of July picnics. Now it's faded and my father is dead...and I'm glad. That's right I'm glad, glad that he can't witness what is happening to the country he loved so fiercely.
My father taught me love for America just as his father taught him. My grandfather, the son of a man who enlisted in the Confederacy as a boy. Despite that, or because of that, loyalty to our country was, without question, preeminent in my family's priorities and traditions.
Loyalty to the concepts that make America the country sought by and built by ancestors who fought their way out of repression by monarchs and religious zealots who insisted on controlling their way of life. My ancestors took their oppressor's lives as well as giving their own in order to realize and defend the promise of Liberty in America.
Those were the thoughts that swirled through my mind as I unfurled that old flag. I felt the presence of my ancestors and then I knew, despite the threadbare appearance of our Republic, there are good people who make up the true fabric of America. People who will fight for the freedoms and guarantees enshrined in the documents that make up our Country's foundation, they're just ideas until they're threatened, under threat they become something valuable enough to die for.
Though I'm glad my father can't see the shameful demonstration of infantile hubris currently residing at the head of the country, I'm fortified by the lessons learned from him. Though faded, that flag represents the best hope that has ever existed and I now fully understand the willingness to give all to defend it.
Faded yes, bowed...no. The flag will stand and America will flourish as a haven for a diverse people, a diversity which gives to America that unique ingredient which allows her a greatness unsurpassed in history.
Yes I needed to raise that flag. Fifty white stars on a field of blue with 13 red and white stripes. It is to that Flag and to the Constitution it represents that I pledge my allegiance, not to any individual but to America and to the therein enshrined concepts of liberty and justice for all.
Thomas Boyers, V is a Gallatin attorney