History & Culture / Politics

Explaining Love of Our Flag


A liberal friend recently made my eyes pop, as my liberal friends often do. Yes, I have them, eyes and liberal friends – and in the spirit of comity, seeking to understand, even persuade, I sometimes invite their opinions. But this one caused pause – as it related to our flag.

In effect, President Trump made her uneasy, and she now felt – because his patriotic message was affiliated with the American flag – that the flag, flying from pickup trucks, storefronts, campsites, displayed on jackets, shirts, hats, and in other venues – made her uneasy.

My first reaction was disbelief, my second sadness, my third empathy. Whatever one thinks of a political leader, pride in our nation’s flag should be unquestioned, universal, informed by love.

Here was a thoughtful, goodhearted American but an acculturated liberal. As much as I could not understand her disaffection for the symbol of all that is good about the United States of America, she could not understand my lack of understanding of her newfound hesitancy.

To her credit, she asked me to explain my love of our flag – and so I did. First, without pushing her Trump buttons, I explained that ours is a nation like no other in human history. I explained that history matters, why preserving it matters, and that is why I write about such things.

A short recap started with the uniqueness of our “founding,” how a small group of truly courageous Americans put everything on the line for an idea – individual liberty, equality among men, self-governance, a written Constitution spreading power among three branches of a federal government, vertically sharing with state governments and “the people” (10th Amendment), and assuring God-given liberties were never taken by that government, through a “Bill of Rights.”

This was utterly new, daring, and untested, requiring a brutal Revolutionary War, unwavering belief in that idea, more sacrifice than you could find in a thousand libraries or cemeteries, lifted by the simple conviction that Providence, God, the Hand of Destiny, was with us.

To her credit, she listened, absorbed, acknowledged. My point was that, from our founding, nothing like America had ever existed before. The idea, even imperfectly implemented by imperfect humans, was to identify, celebrate, elevate, honor, and perpetuate freedom.

Knowing her tendency toward the view that Republicans underemphasize equality, which they do not, but that is the narrative, I took her on a tour of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, which Republicans brought to life after the Civil War – fought for “a more perfect union,” led by a Republican president.

I then sketched how women got the vote through the 19th Amendment, an initiative begun by Theodore Roosevelt, another Republican. I then walked through the Civil Rights Movement’s milestones, freedoms achieved and enshrined in law, starting with the 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights Acts under Dwight D. Eisenhower, another Republican.

As an inveterate fan of Ronald Reagan, I spent time on the Soviet Union’s repression of humanity, the immorality of Marxism, Socialism, and Communism – how they defeat liberty, suppress the individual, and how America defeated the Soviet Union, freeing millions.

But the nub of my love for our flag – I explained – was honoring those who risked, rose, and fell for freedom over the past 250 years. When we salute the flag or place a hand on our heart, we honor those who fell for the ideals embodied in that flag, for our liberties, for us.

I tried to convey that the flag is not a symbol of either party, of any political leader, or even of any one idea, but of the sacrifices that matured us into the greatest nation in human history, with more freedoms, opportunities, individual, spiritual, material, and intergenerational love for what humanity most respects, wants and honors, than any nation, ever conceived.

I tried to convey that tens of millions of Americans – since our founding – have readied themselves to fight and to die in defense of our rights, freedoms, a world without fear, chance to make it, safety of towns and families, and the respect for each other that we today enjoy.

I tried to explain, from the Revolutionary War, through 1812, Civil War, 1st and 2nd World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, 1st Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, and in countless other places, our flag has flown over those motivated to defend liberty – ours and others. Twice, we have saved Europe.

All this is tied up in that precious American flag. That flag is not about one candidate, party, state, or region. It is not about race, religion, background, age, gender, or political affiliation.

The American flag is about the blood spilled for freedom and equality, seeking truth, peace, and self-government, as necessary fighting for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Time grew short.

I wondered if any of this had landed.

She was intelligent, but modern politics exhausts the best. To my relief, time well spent. It might not have been but was. She felt better, understood my awe of our flag, and – I think – felt a new fondness for it, herself. History, they say, is made by inches. I think that may be true, and of patriots too.

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Read more articles by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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1 month ago

Unfortunately so many young think the world started when our Republic did. They don’t realize that there are countries that are thousands of years older than our United States of America.

We were infiltrated from the start with those laying the ground work for what is happening today–yes evil is patient and relentless.

Karl Kernehan
1 month ago

I pray our Communist commander and thief reads this!!!

Katja Kirsch
1 month ago

As a child I pledged allegiance to the flag. I came from another country, not to escape tyranny, but decisions made by adults. After 56 years, 3 children, grandchildren and great grandchildren I still honor the flag. Our government leaders not so much. Politicians are not my favorite people and the only one I trust is God, my family and the good people I know. God help us.

1 month ago

Great writing Mr. Charles.. brought a tear to my eye. I love our flag and respect it fully. I have been looking at it for 80 years. It means freedom, love of country, love of real Americans and absolutely no time for those who hate it. We will be back, you betcha!

Maryanna Elliott
1 month ago

I love this article. I wish that more Americans would read this and hopefully gain more respect and love for our country and our flag.

1 month ago

So right you are. We must keep speaking this strength, love abs history forward so they will! Thank you fir your sentiments! And the strength in them.

Gail Tubbs
1 month ago

Mr. Charles: You said it perfectly.
I was born and raised in the Air Force and married into the Navy
For many, many years I rose with Revelry in the morning and went to bed with Taps at night. I have always been proud of our flag. I have seen it flown in foreign countries and in America. I never thought of it promoting or supporting a single political party. In my mind it has always supported us, the Americans and it always will.

1 month ago
Reply to  Gail Tubbs

God bless and fortify you! And all of us, I can hear the trumpet now. Thank you! RBC

1 month ago

Thank you for so much truth about out unique country and its courageous people since its founding. Those who don’t share our love for America need to live in a third world country for a year. Maybe then they will begin to appreciate how blessed they are to be Americans.

1 month ago

Thank you so much. Totally loved this piece. Actually helped remind me of some of those amendments newly in regards to current events. Love this country and the flag that represents it’s ideals and beliefs. Thank you for sharing this.

1 month ago
Reply to  Jeanette

With your every word!

1 month ago

Mr. Charles, your article is very good. I too have a liberal friend who thinks that flying the American flag means “they are Trump supporters”, whether on a vehicle or home or hanging in small town/large town America. I responded by telling her that I think it means “Patriotism” to America, and “we need more of it”. Any conversation or comment I make is “fact-checked” by her on her fact-check website immediately. I hate what our long time friendship has become over the last 5 years. And I feel sorry for her at the same time that her hate is so great for Trump, the Republicans, and these people who do fly our beautiful American flag.

1 month ago

Mr. Charles: I have read your articles while tearing up. The last one I read was in the AMAC publication and was about the “WARRIORS” who fought so hard in Afganistan only to wonder if it was all worth it. You said that they were to be commended for the fact that they fought for freedom! Now when I see T2T soldiers on the TV who have lost all their limbs I want to stand up and say to the parents of those who lost their lives that they were fighting for my FREEDOM. I want to scream out to the “useful idiots” in this country who will never stop worshiping their gods control and greed to STOP with the dehuminizing of these great warriors. You are so correct that the flag is for each person in this country! I become so angry when I see what the current administration is doing to this country. I need to see more action on the part of the conservatives who should know better and less TALK. I am all talked out at my age. They keep telling me that this Parkinson’s affects each person differently and I guess GOD knew that I talk too much so it has affected my voice (singing, talking) and my handwriting more than anything else! I remember that when I got on the plane to come home after spending 1991-92 in the soviet union and the middle east that I wanted to kiss the floor of Delta Airlines. I had been pulled out of line by this woman in Moscow and she was unable to see what I had in my carryon luggage. I felt like Corrie TemBoom who used to smuggle Bibles into the soviet union and the people never saw what she was carrrying. I believe that God closed threir eyes for Coorrie and me both! So when I hear all that the new generation says about the flag or anyone speaks ill of it I want to say “walk a little in my shoes” or thse who have lived under tyranny and you will understand what the flag stands for in this country. Thank you, Carol

1 month ago
Reply to  Carol

Carol, thank you! Thank you so very much! God bless you! Rbc

1 month ago
Reply to  Rbc

No it is people like you who need to be thanked over and over again! You are so excellent at telling us what we need to hear (as do the useful idiots in this country) and you do it so beautifully. I hope that more and more people will start to listen and hear what you say.God Bless you sir! Carol

1 month ago

Thank you for this article Mr. Charles!!! Amen and amen!!!

1 month ago
Reply to  Judy

Semper fi

1 month ago

The most beautiful flag in the world. I can’t help but pause when I see it!

1 month ago

Good Article! I would like to print it out but there is not a link on the webpage for that option. Perhaps you can correct the error of that.

Thank you

1 month ago
Reply to  Jack

You can email the article to yourself. Then you’ll be able to print it.

1 month ago
Reply to  Debbie

or Copy & paste…wish AMAC would add a Print link.

1 month ago

RBC, you did a good job!!

1 month ago
Reply to  Max

Thank you so much for reading Max!

1 month ago
Reply to  Rbc

Your welcome.

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