Byrd’s view: what the flag should stand for


During the last few weeks, I have shared in some conversations nbwith friends, colleagues and others about the representation of the American flag. While some of these conversations were enthusiastic and sometimes passionate, I was left with the understanding that the flag represented many things to many people.

It seemed the flag had a different meaning for most of us but almost all of us agreed that it represented a symbol that should be respected.

It caused me to revisit an article I received more than a decade ago asking the question “What the American Flag Stands For”.

This article was written by a 12 year old student for a competition in her 6th grade English class.

She wrote, “The American Flag stands for the fact that Cloth can be very important. It is against the law to let the flag touch the ground or to leave the flag flying when the weather is bad. The flag has to be treated with respect.

“You can tell just how important this cloth is because when you compare it to people, it gets much better treatment. Nobody cares if a homeless person touches the ground. A homeless person can lie all over the ground all night long without anyone picking him up, folding him neatly and sheltering him from rain.

“School children have to pledge loyalty to this piece of cloth every morning. No one has to pledge loyalty to justice and equality and human decency. No one has to promise that people will get a fair wage, or enough food to eat, or affordable medicine, or clean water, or air free of harmful chemicals. But we all have to promise to love a rectangle of red, white, and blue cloth.

“Betsy Ross would be quite surprised to see how successful her creation has become. But Thomas Jefferson would be disappointed to see how little of the flag’s real meaning remains”.

I believe this young student, more so than many adults, really understands “What the American Flag Stands For”.


(Lumus Byrd Jr. is a retired businessman and lives in Clinton.)

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