Letter: Honoring our flag
Each morning meeting, we ask you to rise, remain still, place your hand over your heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, but do you know why?
What is the flag and why does so much ritual go along with it? What purpose is served by pledging allegiance? Why does a piece of cloth deserve our respect and attention?
A flag alone means nothing. It is what the flag represents that is important. Most people think this flag represents the United States of America, but that is a simplification.
In a nation like ours, the people are the country, so the flag represents us — each of us and our individual hopes and dreams as we enjoy our lives in a free democratic society.
The Pledge of Allegiance is a pledge to be loyal to all that is good in our republic and strive to make good what is not yet right.
The flag itself has its own symbols and meanings — 50 stars for each of the states; 13 stripes for the original colonies; white stripes symbolize purity; red stripes signify hardiness and valor; the blue field — vigilance, perseverance and justice. If you believe in these things, the flag deserves your respect.
The flag is universally representative of justice, liberty and democracy. If you believe in these things, the flag deserves your respect.
The flag represents a sense of unity and is a reminder of the best instincts of the people and the nation. Our flag flies not only on Earth but on the moon and Mars, symbolizing the achievements of our minds given freedom and opportunity.
It has also been flown at the Pentagon and Ground Zero of the Twin Towers rubble within hours of the 9/11 terrorist attacks ...
So when we ask you to stand, face the flag and recite the pledge, remember — it is a pledge to ourselves to continue to strive to achieve that which is best, to fulfill a vision of each individual’s rights and freedoms being fully realized.
When we honor the flag, we honor ourselves and those who have sacrificed and built a great nation that each of you can make even greater.
So stand and participate respectfully in honoring the national symbol of our legacy and of our future as Americans.
RICHARD G. PUCKO