Standing up for the Grand Old Flag seems to be in question these days, as the flag passes by at parades or is presented by a color guard at public events. For some citizens, American flag etiquette seems to have gone by the wayside at public events… as illustrated by an incident at a local parade recently. My friend Marie called and told me of an experience she had at the 24th of July Pioneer Day Parade in her community.
The color guard, displaying the American Flag, was approaching the area where she and her family were standing. A young fellow was walking along the parade sidelines asking folks to stand up and give respect to the American flag. A group of people refused to stand and were quite vocal about it. This response started a negative verbal confrontation between the “parade walker” and the folks refusing to stand. The “parade walker” insisted they stand in respect of the flag… and the “parade watchers” loudly rebuffed again. The confrontation went on for several minutes before the young man left and went on his way.
This experience led Marie and I to an interesting discussion… as we tried to sort this out.
1. Since when is it necessary to have a “parade walker” remind us to stand in respect of the flag? Are we so complacent, and apathetic that we’ve lost our patriotic spark? Or, are we so distracted by the kids, getting our chairs situated, our Diet Coke opened, answering our cell phones…. “We’re down on the left side of the street under the big tree… you can’t miss us”…. that we just miss it altogether? “Huh?… The parade has started?” “Did the flag go by?”
2. If it’s really necessary to have a “parade walker” shake us to our senses… he shouldn’t fight with the folks who refuse to rise. After all… the flag stands for a country that allows people to be “jerks.” Having a negative confrontation and insisting that someone must stand and esteem the flag smacks of a socialist country that doesn’t allow for protest.
3. Why in the world would “parade watchers” fight with a guy who is just doing his little job. If they didn’t want to rise, they should just keep their fannies on their chairs, their mouths shut and let the guy be on his way. It’s not that they didn’t stand that made them “jerks”… but the fact they had to announce to everyone around they were above the so called “audacity” of standing for the American Flag… by arguing with the fellow.
4. I’m sure if I had been there… I’d have been in the mix… yes… I’m a bit that way. After asking the “parade walker” to be on his way. I would have told the protesters that I would stand for them… proud for the flag of a country that allows people like them… to sit on their fannies when the flag goes by… and yes… even be jerks!
Both Marie and I spent time in China on business. We came home with a new appreciation for the American Flag and The United States Of America. There is no country in the world like it. We have people dying in deserts… trying to sneak into this county… just for a little of the opportunity we have here. Even with all the little glitches we have going on in this country right now… there’s not another place on the planet we would rather be.
That is just how we see it.
P.S. Now, if I can just not become distracted by the kids, my Diet Coke, and my cell phone… perhaps I’ll pay more attention to the color guard when they present “The Grand Old Flag.” “Stand?” “What did he say?” Did the flag go by?”