July 4: A Glorious Day for Our Flag
This meditation, written by Chaplain Jim Dorsey, was originally shared with employees and staff at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. We hope you will find it inspiring and uplifting as we celebrate Independence Day.
The flag. Not just any old flag, but the flag of the United States of America. It’s often referred to as Old Glory or the Stars and Stripes.
Thanks to Francis Scott Key, it was respectfully entitled the Star-Spangled Banner, which has become the revered secular hymn sung at special occasions across this land. Regardless of its name the flag we esteem has withstood the trials, tribulations and testing of time: wars and conflicts; demonstrations and burnings; draped caskets and the folded, three-cornered presentation to widows and widowers of fallen heroes at funerals.
Regardless, it’s our flag; our nation’s birthmark and national symbol whose recognition permeates throughout the world.
It flies on flag poles, hangs from our garage doors, adorns walls and covers windows. We salute it, pledge allegiance to it, display it in parades and go madly wild waving it at international soccer games. It’s sewn onto the uniform fabric of our military personnel and professional athletes, and is embossed on street clothes and shoes, tools, toys and more… Made in America.
We stick flag decals on the bumpers of our cars and wear the small, metal flag icon on our suits and shirts. Some of us can remember when television programming ended at midnight with the playing of America the Beautiful, the American flag waving in the background, followed by the test pattern. Some might say, “Those bygone days were the best!”
Our flag. It’s composed of 50 five-pointed stars on a blue background with thirteen alternating red and white stripes. The stars represent every state in our hallowed Union. The blue background represents vigilance, perseverance and justice. The red stripes signify valor and bravery. The white stripes symbolize purity and innocence. Together they convey the significance of the original thirteen colonies from which we celebrate our rich heritage.
This unique flag. It has endured over the years and still manages to inspire and evoke hope and pride for those who gaze upon it.
Liberty and freedom are words that undeniably characterize the flag of the United States. Perhaps John Wayne, the famous movie star and patriot, put our flag in its proper context when he said, “Sure I wave the American flag. Do you know a better flag to wave? Sure I love my country with all her faults. I’m not ashamed of that, never have been, never will be.”
This Fourth of July, when we see “Old Glory” displayed in some form or fashion, may our hearts be moved to a deeper level of thanksgiving for our country, and for the independence she truly represents. Happy Fourth of July!