It is in the American flag and our unwavering respect to it that our hope and future lies. Time and honor can be represented in multifarious ways while significant signals act as bread crumbs to our quickly fleeting past. The American flag and our salute are both a monumental mighty embodiment of America which accompany us daily.
As generations grow more independent from antiquated traditions they inevitably grow more separated and detached from the roots of commencement and the traditions which brought them paradise in the form of the most felicity filled and prosperous nation to ever exist on earth. The constant encouraged nurturing of these traditions, these frameworks which are works of masterpiece sustenance and infinite useful reminders of our deeply woven and embedded patriotism, are crucial in the future generation’s understanding of duty bound patriotism. A goal of mine is to be a beacon of light shinning bright illustrious beams on symbols of our freedom.
It all started so subtly one hundred and nineteen years ago in 1892 when James Upham and Francis Bellamy decided the Pledge of Allegiance should be accompanied by a hand salute. The National Columbian Public School Celebration of Columbus Day was the event that needed a program and Upham and Bellamy had just the thing. They wrote out the pledge for The Youth’s Companion magazine and while verbally reciting it Upham instinctively held out his arm, palm upward, toward an invisible flag he could see so clearly in his mind. By September 8th 1892 part of the official program of the National Columbian Public School Celebration of Columbus Day specified in the instructions that students were to accompany the Pledge of Allegiance with a military salute or your hand over your heart.
Various styles of saluting were used from 1892 until 1935 including a straight armed palm facing down salute. Citizens were beginning to complain in 1935 because of the striking similarity to the most popular hand salute and that of the German “Heil Hitler” salute, arm extended to the flag and the palm facing down. Finally in December 1942 congress officially sanctioned a flag salute, holding your right hand over your heart.
To salute the flag is to recognize with swift acceptance the abundant and extravagant respect for the perfect exemplification of a representation of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country. Gazing upon the stars on the flag I reminisce about those who have been taken to the sky because of what they have done for this country. Every time I see the stripes that represented the original colonies and the blood shed it took to get us here it strips away what is divided in me regarding theUnited States of Americadysfunction and it pieces together all harboring sense of liberty in my soul and unifies me with all those surrounding me in our country.
Unity brought forth by appreciation, appreciation brought forth by gunshots. The terrorism that rattled my body is another form of fear and disruption but not dissimilar to the terrorism that stalks and has rattled this country.
Saluting the flag is something more to me than an empty gesture to whispering ghosts. It is something I do willingly with a voluminous gratitude for being on this earth after being shot in Detroit in 2007, ripped to pieces by bullets and remaining alive still on American soil. When you’re looking at the flag with battle hardened eyes that have looked down upon your own belly only to find blood leaking faster than a rushing rapid out of you, you “get it”. You get that the flag at its minimum represents the colossal struggle for freedom and it gives you a tragic but enduring solid bond between the memories of fallen warriors and yourself.
Profound veneration lies dormant in our hearts like shadows dancing on walls miles away that we can barley see. The passion of patriots who left us should be the spark to our inner fires that should already be burning. Every breath at every sunset and every fresh new day at every sunrise is a reason to salute the flag.
In a world that changes in moments so vigorously and spontaneously, we should seek a familiarity that has been with us since birth. With each salute we make, we are each slowly and progressively pulling our inner swords out of the stone of idealness to create heroes and to create leaders in ourselves.
The flag moves with us in life. Look next time you pass one, see it get caught up in the winds of life just as we are. Strong, steady, and unshakeable it is in our American flag and our devotion to it that our hope and future lies.
Dominic Matich author of Sypheria.