Thursday is July 4 — a day when many American flags will be flown. As a person who loves his country and that flag, my heart swells with pride when I see it fluttering in the breeze. I think most citizens do show respect for Old Glory on holidays such as Independence Day and Flag Day, but they occasionally forget about the rest of the year.
Those who fly the flag year-round often unintentionally disrespect it by leaving it up in bad weather, allowing it to fade and tear. I’ve seen tattered, shredded and nearly unrecognizable flags limply dangling from poles. If you have one of these worn-out flags in your yard right now, please go take it down. By leaving it there in such a dilapidated state, you are being just as disrespectful to Old Glory as foreign protesters who tear flags and burn them. It really irks me to see flags in such poor condition, and it should upset you, too.
People have died for that flag, and it needs to be respected. If it is worn out, properly destroy it in a dignified way. If you don’t know how to destroy it, contact the VFW, the American Legion or the Coastal Courier and ask for me. We’ll help you out.
I also get riled up at ball games and ceremonies when I see people disrespect the flag as it passes by or during “The Star Spangled Banner” or the Pledge of Allegiance. Many people — mostly youngsters — are more concerned with talking, laughing, texting and looking around during these key moments. As far as I’m concerned, if you are a U.S. citizen, you are required to show respect. If you don’t, you are disrespecting every man and woman who has died or been wounded defending this nation.
For those of you who don’t know, you must stand at attention during the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem. You place your hand over your heart and sing or recite the words or remain quiet. If you are a male, you also remove your hat or head gear. If Old Glory passes by, you stand at attention and place your hand over your heart. In both instances, if you are in a uniform, you stand at attention and give a proper salute.
There are many more rules of etiquette when it comes to Old Glory, and I encourage all to learn them. At one time, families taught their children to respect the American flag, and we need to continue this practice.
Thursday, when you are sitting at home enjoying your American freedom, remember those who fought so you can enjoy that time. Also remember that they fought for those 13 red-and-white stripes and 50 stars. So show a little respect the next time she passes by. Otherwise, someone like me may tap you on the shoulder and remind you why you need to do the right thing.