Voice of Democracy

We pledge allegiance to the flag – at school, sporting events, and symbolic ceremonies – but what does that mean? Does it mean the same to us today, as it did to our Founding Fathers, or to those who have lost loved ones fighting for our freedom? Does it mean the same to the veteran who is quick to remove his hat and salute the flag, with tears running down his face, as he overflows with pride for his country? And what about the teenager who wears a shirt with the flag printed on it? In good times and bad, our flag represents our country’s unity and strength. It represents our country’s ability to overcome whatever obstacles are in our path. When our country gained independence, we raised our American flag to show our country’s bravery. In the battle of Iwo Jima during World War II, we raised our American flag to show our country’s perseverance, and strength. When the first men set foot on the moon, we raised our American flag to show our country’s courage.

And after the 9/11 terrorist attack, we raised our American flag to show our country’s ability to heal. Our country lowers the flag to half-mast to show our mourning and support for Umpqua Community College. As you overlook the sea of graves with American flags, at Arlington National Cemetery, a sense of pride, respect, and grief washes over you. There our flag represents our respect for our veterans, hope for our country’s future, and the freedom that those who fought for our country brought us.In the past our flag has represented different things in different circumstances – but in the future, I predict that our flag will always represent two things for our country – freedom, and hope.

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In more recent generations some Americans have not appeared to respect the flag as much as in the past. Some, assault the flag and what it represents, by wearing it on their clothes, letting it touch the ground, or even burning it. These actions often show disrespect for the flag, because the infamous terrorist group, Isis, performs actions such as these to make a statement against our country. They also show disrespect for veterans because many have sacrificed their lives to bring us the freedom that the flag represents. Throughout our country’s existence, the events will change, but the hope and freedom that our country stands for will never change.

To Americans, the American flag may stand for many things – such as unity, strength, courage, healing, and perseverance. And in the future, I believe that the flag will remain important to all Americans, and will always stand for freedom, and hope. If we remain united behind the flag and our country, the future of our nation will be bright.