Flag Day, Red Skelton, Sir Walter Scott, Johnny Cash and Mom

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I can think of few things more appropriate for Flag Day than Red Skelton’s immortal explanation of the Pledge of Allegiance.  When my sainted mother became a naturalized American citizen, she was given a little American flag.  I have a treasured photo of my Mom and Dad just after the naturalization ceremony, both happy, and my Mom clutching the flag of a land that she loved long before she became a citizen.  I still have the flag, one of my most precious mementoes of my Mom.

A flag of course is only physically a piece of fabric, sometimes described disparagingly by cynics as a rag on a stick.   Sir Walter Scott described such people well long ago:

Breathes there the man with soul so dead,

Who never to himself hath said,  

 ’This is my own, my native land!’  

Whose heart hath ne’er within him burn’d

As home his footsteps he hath turn’d

From wandering on a foreign strand?

If such there breathe, go, mark him well;

For him no Minstrel raptures swell;

High though his titles, proud his name,

Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;

Despite those titles, power, and pelf,

The wretch, concentred all in self,  

Living, shall forfeit fair renown,  

And, doubly dying, shall go down

  To the vile dust from whence he sprung,

Unwept, unhonour’d, and unsung.

A flag is a symbol of the love and pride of a people in their nation.  Those who disparage such sentiments are to be pitied rather than cursed.

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