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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Paulette Bryant
10 months ago

Robert B. Charles , Thank you for this article. You spoke my heart on the love and respect for our Old Glory.

10 months ago

Great, great article. I’d like to recommend a book that explains where are how we got here. “A Miracle That Changed The World ‘The 5000 Year Leap’ “.

10 months ago

I was very saddened this 4th of July. I asked if one of my nieces was here somewhere at our towns celebration. I was told that she said that she doesn’t believe in our Independence Day. I was told that she had gone completely Woke …as is proven by her FB. I have an extremely large family. We’re all patriotic, most are Christian, and many have been military. She is the only one who has turned away. She vastly changed since she met her girlfriend. And now her son will never know why we fly our flag.

11 months ago

Well written article. However, the left hates the flag, they hate the country, they hate conservatives, they want change for change’s sake, they want free stuff their own way and they want it NOW. They are too short sighted to give any thought to how we got here, and what it cost millions of us. There will be a few libs that can be convinced but I dare say the vast majority are ruined by PC and poor upbringing and will not give any on their views due to being entitled and raised that they are never wrong. The chasm between them and us leaves little hope of there ever being any middle ground.

11 months ago

My paternal Grandfather was Native American.He could not go into the town restaurant but he as well as my Dad instilled patriotism in us as well as the pride when we saw the flag.We still fly them today at our home.And it still gives me that feeling of pride while thinking of those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Its a grand old flag may it fly forever.

George W Holzman
11 months ago

Freedom is only free for the illeagles, they get free food free medical , free education , free cell phones ,free transportation where ever they want to go.They don’t care about this country they only care about the freebees.I am struggling to raise 2 grand kids and I don’t get a dime.

Anne W
11 months ago

Thank you for this wonderful article with a great explanation of what our nation’s flag stands for. The short history lesson was great too. I love veterans. My father and father-in-law fought in WWII, and my husband joined the Army in the Vietnam era but never had to fight there. However, he served for 21 years and I am proud of his service to our country.

11 months ago

Great post, RBC!

I don’t recall of hearing the Pledge of Allegiance for quite sometime. How about anyone else who frequents this forum? Have you heard it lately and where?

Perhaps if all of us would be firm about the pledge, perhaps when more Americans, including those who are bent towards Liberalism, maybe they would live up to their Pledge instead of supporting evil changes to our Great Nation?

I am ALL for Convention of the States!

Please step forward good Leaders!

Tom Quinley
11 months ago
Reply to  DonS

We say it regularly at church. Our pastor is a veteran so he makes sure we know it. We love our America and what she stands for!!!

11 months ago

Thank you for sharing this !! Much needed truth and history and I sharing this too!!

J. Farley
11 months ago

What America and the Flag mean to me; It is a Symbol of Hope Love and Freedom, our founding Fathers were some of the smartest People ever to have been Born, and they were all concentrated in the right spot at the right time, to create the greatest Country ever conceived by Man, they for the First time since the dawn of man created a place where People could chart they own path and expand their own horizons, if you look at how the knowledge of the world grew it was after America was created. We are as President Ronald Reagen put it: We are the shinning City on The Hill.
We all must do everything we can Protect and Defend that which they created because there will never be a Nation on Earth, which Provides so much hope and freedom.
Those who are working to destroy America are not the Foreign Powers directly but Those within our own Nation who are the Pon’s that will do the most Damage.
Love America and have Faith in God!

11 months ago
Reply to  J. Farley

Very good comment, J. Farley. May God bless you.

J. Farley
11 months ago
Reply to  Sheila

Thanks Shelia, for your very kind comments, my parents taught their Children to love and respect our Nation and the symbol, the American Flag, I am sad, but hopeful we will overcome the downfall of our leaders.

Stephen Russell
11 months ago

Love other flag too: Updated Dont Tread Me with 50 states, Guam & PR
Colors Red & Blue

David Hes
11 months ago

What you experienced with that woman is the direct result of a malicious media that brainwashed her into feeling anything associated with Trump is not only to be rejected but vilified. What a shame!

11 months ago

Thank you for the article. One day I hope you write down what you talked about with this woman in detail. I would love to read that as an article, perhaps more than one article.

Sharon Ormsby
11 months ago

Beautiful words, could not have expressed it any better myself! Thank you!

Mary Nelson
11 months ago

Extremely moved and inspired by this article. Thank you for posting this and explaining your love, my love and hopefully everyone who believes in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Sandra A LaCroix
11 months ago

Thank you for this beautiful article! I have posted this on my FB page for the 4th of July! Blessings and thank you again.

11 months ago

Our Flag is without a doubt the second most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid eyes on ever, the first being the Holy Bible!

Patriot Will
11 months ago

Mr. Charles, I’m so glad you were able to enlighten your ignorant friend — outstanding job. All of my cynical relatives and friends are too stubborn to admit that America is a special and wonderful country. They either laugh at my attempts to get them to appreciate this country more, or they get angry at my patriotism. They resent me for trying to force my positive “spin” of our Constitutional Republic on them. Their minds and spirits have been so poisoned by the mainstream media that they firmly believe that being very positive to our Flag is small-minded and dangerous.to the welfare of our country — how tragic.

Philip Hammersley
11 months ago

Those who claim to be liberals do NOT know history at all. That’s why they can support the party of slavery, Jim Crow, eugenics, riots, and globalism! RBC did a great exposition but I doubt it changed his friend’s mind because she follows the “truth” from the likes of Ilhan Omar and Joy Behar!

11 months ago

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.”

Thank you for an excellent article.

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