Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

Today is Independence Day--better known these days as “The Fourth of July”. In 1776 it was the day the 13 British Colonies officially became independent states, and it was unequivocally a Big Day for America. So why do we call it “The Fourth of July” and not “Independence Day”? It’s become the day for picnics, parades and fireworks, and any thought of our Founding Fathers and what they accomplished is pretty much left in the celebratory dust. That’s pretty sad. But I get a little giddy and my heart beats a little faster at the thought of the hundreds of millions of American flags—from the tiniest to the most outrageously ostentatious--flying freely, wildly, proudly today.

It’s the one thing I love about our modern-day Independence Day celebrations—all that flag-flying. Our flag is the most stunningly beautiful in the entire world, without question (at least to me and most Americans). It’s a brilliant concept, in that the original 13 colonies and all 50 states are represented. The colors couldn’t be better. The overall pattern—stars and stripes—is a purely original, radically clever design. It’s perfect.

We’re from the old school here when it comes to flag etiquette. The flag never touches the ground, and when it’s worn, it’s replaced and the old one is either burned or given to the American Legion, where it’s disposed of properly. (One thing we don’t do is keep a light on our flags at night—a Big No-No according to our grandson, who is definitely from the young school but still knows all about it.)

We go through flags pretty quickly here, what with the howling north winds doing a constant number on them, but I’ve noticed in the last couple of years that the majority of the flags sold today are made in the USA. Hooray for that!

If I have one gripe, it’s that too many times our flag is used strictly commercially as a come-on. That’s sacrilege to me. I hate seeing huge, building-sized American flags flying over businesses. Our flag is a national treasure and very nearly a sacred symbol to a whole lot of us, and to see it relegated to the role of advertising gimmick gives me chills--and not in a good way.

I don't want our flag diminished in any way by using it for purposes never intended. But it’s one of those things I’ll have to get over, because I see it’s done more and more. And I don’t want to be a curmudgeon about it—especially on this day.

Happy Independence Day and have a great Fourth of July.

1 comment:

  1. I think the American flag is the best, too! Love your pictures.