I’m in the garage, and I see our old American flag standing at attention in the cobwebbed corner. I decide, for 2011, I want to fly it out in front of the house. We insert it into our flag holder, and it waves in the wind to greet the neighborhood like a long lost friend. I explain to our children why I want to do this in the New Year.
As a symbol of citizenship, the flag represents a value I want our family to espouse in 2011. We are citizens–of our families, our neighborhoods, our schools, churches, state, nation, and world. We live responsibly, honestly, and interdependently. We give honor to the ones who protect our freedom, and we thank God for the privileges we enjoy. The flag reminds us to live in a way that embodies the ideals of our local, national, and global communities.
My husband tells the family that the flag represents that we live for more than just ourselves.
If I had a bugle, I might play an anthem or “To the Colors.” We could salute and show respect in the morning and again at night when we take the flag inside. At Camp Greystone, where I served as a counselor for 6 years, the flag raising and lowering ceremony can bring tears to your eyes as you observe hundreds of children and adults, still and silent, honoring the symbol of our citizenship.
So I put the flag out. I’m a citizen of a great nation, and in this New Year, I don’t want to take it for granted. We’ll fly it every morning in a moment of stillness and silence, thankfulness and respect.