Do It Every Day

On Monday, we remembered and mourned those lost on 9/11/2001.  Many people proudly displayed their flags in honor of those lost in the attacks and to observe Patriot Day.

We see flags proudly flying on the 4th of July, Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day and it got me wondering why people do not fly flags every day? After all, we have active servicemen and women deployed around the world. While we enjoy the freedoms we have here in America and go about our daily lives, our military is protecting us and fighting for us each and every day.  Should we not fly the flag every day to honor them? I think we should.

If you are going to hang a flag at your home, make sure you follow the proper protocols. According to http://www.vfw.org:

Per Federal Flag Code, Section 2, paragraph (a), it is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.

There are many other protocols to follow such as never letting the flag touch the ground and those can be found at the website mentioned above.

Each time I hang the flag in the morning and bring it in at night, I take a moment to look at it.  I marvel in the red, white and blue and think of all those who wear the flag on a patch on their arm going into battle for you and me and how Old Glory is used to blanket the coffins of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for his/her countrymen. I say a quick prayer asking God to protect the brave men and women in our military and thank Him for putting such selfless and courageous people on earth. Without them, our lives would be totally different.

A few years ago, a campaign was started called “Green Light a Vet” to honor veterans. Green  is a symbol of hope, renewal, well-being and moving forward.  Many veterans returning from service are struggling in many different ways.  Shining a green light is a simple way to show our local veterans that we support and appreciate their service. It took quite a few trips to the store to finally find a green light to participate in this initiative, but it makes us feel good that if a veteran walks, jogs or drives past our house, they know they are not forgotten.  We never turn it off.

Flying the flag. To me, it is like eating, drinking breathing and praying. It is something I proudly do every day and hope more will too. 20160703_204316.jpg

 

(John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.)

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Respect the Position

 

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Happy Presidents’ Day!  This holiday was originally created to honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, two men who led the nation during very difficult times. Any president who led our country while we were at war had a tremendous task – to make sure that America was secure.  Over the years, the day has been changed to honor all of our presidents.  Men who chose and were elected to the highest position in the world.

I won’t talk politics, but will say a few things about the position of the President of the United States:

1.  It is not just the president who makes the decisions. He has numerous advisers, cabinet members and even family members and friends who affect what he does and says.  However, it is he who ends up taking the blame for his entire administration, which I guess is only right since he does have the final say.  But his decisions are based on information gathered and given by others.  He is only one man with many things to handle in American and overseas.  He must base his decisions from intelligence and the experience of others.  He does not and cannot possibly know every single thing about every single issue. He relies on others to do this for him.

2.  No matter how you feel about a president, he deserves respect.  He is the most powerful man in the world and he represents America.  I cannot stand when people publicly bad mouth our leader. While we do have freedom of speech, hearing someone call our president a “baffoon” or “idiot” on TV or in the newspaper makes our entire country look bad. Even if we think that, it should not be said publicly. You can certainly say it in your home or when you are with friends, and everyone is entitled to their opinions, but statements that degrade our president in front of the world make us look bad.

Years ago, while touring in England, the Dixie Chicks said they were “ashamed” of President Bush. I had a ticket to go see one of their concerts and immediately sold it.  I think it was disgraceful that they bad-mouthed the leader of our American family, especially in another country and especially during one of the most difficult periods in American history. Say what you want about Bush, but no other president was ever put in the situation he was and many would agree that 9/11 was by far, the darkest day in our history.  We needed to stand together, not blame one person for the response.  The same goes to those who blame President Clinton for not having Bin Laden killed when he had the chance or who feel that Bush knew there was a hijacking attempt in the works.  If you want to blame one man for 9/11, go ahead.  But blame the person who was really responsible –  Bin Laden.

I am glad that all of our presidents are honored today. While some certainly did more than others for our country, we have to remember the time period in which they served. If it was a peaceful time, they did not have to do too much.  But those who served during crises in America and  abroad are the ones we really remember.  Their ability to lead was put to the test.

A president’s legacy is all about timing.  And they have no idea what may happen while they are in office.  We have to hope and trust that whatever does happen, our chosen leader will assist and protect us to the best of his ability.  So, please – at the very least, respect the position of being President and while you can say and think what you want, remember who might be listening…

 

Happy Birthday, Laura!

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Today is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birthday!  She is my all time favorite children’s book author and possibly one of the reasons why I love history so much. I grew up watching the show “Little House on the Prairie” and read all of her books – several times.  I related to Laura in many ways.  Laura hated her brown hair and compared it to the color of “mud” unlike her sister’s blond hair which she describes as the color of “golden wheat.” Growing up in the 70s and 80s, blonds were the big sex symbols (Farrah Fawcett, Suzanne Somers, Heather Locklear, Heather Thomas) and I remember thinking that when I grew up, I was going to get blue contacts and dye my dark brown hair blond to be like them.  (Of course, I did not realize how ridiculous I would look, but hey, I was a kid!)  Laura also had trouble sitting still in church and school (like me) and liked to hoot and holler and play with the boys more than do “proper ladylike” things like sewing and sitting quietly.  My mom tried to teach me how to do cross stitch and basic stitches several times, but I did not have the patience for it.  When I would read Laura’s books, I felt like I was reading about myself, which made me want to read more. Little did I know, I was also learning history.

For decades, her books were a required part of the curriculum in schools all over America. I am very sad to say that that is no longer the case and because of that, we are cheating our children out of a great American story. Laura’s is one that was shared by many.  She tells of the challenges that the pioneers faced as they created and shaped the world we live in today.  She also shares stories of  basic human emotions that we all feel and that every child can relate to – feelings of love, anger, jealousy, joy, surprise, hope, fear,  frustration and determination.  It is historical fiction at its best.

I am not sure why her books are no longer required readings in elementary schools.  When teaching Westward Expansion to my 6th graders, I often read excerpts from her books describing the bumpy journey in a covered wagon on an unpaved road facing all types of weather, the fear of crossing streams and rivers.   My students looked forward to hearing these snippets and many of them would check out the book or borrow it for silent reading. There are also excellent examples of  life lessons with values and morals in them, teaching empathy, respect and tolerance.

I encourage every young child to read the Little House on the Prairie series.  It is normally recommended for 4th graders, but I think a few years before or after that is also appropriate. Laura Ingalls Wilder is an important person in America’s history and certainly in children’s literature.   She and her books will always and forever hold a special place in my heart.

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