It’s Flag Day in the United States. I hope that no matter where you live, when you see your flag, you feel the same feeling I do when I see my flag. I remember even as a child watching a Boy Scout flag ceremony or hearing the national anthem play before a ball game how it made me feel. Proud. Reverent. Love.
I have cried over this flag.
Why do we feel these things about a colored rectangle of fabric? Of course it’s not the fabric, it’s what the fabric stands for. In some circles there’s a real backlash against the idea of taking pride in ones country, of feeling loyalty toward and love for the country of your birth. We are supposed to be multi-cultural and take the “enlightened” view that all countries and all peoples are equally deserving of reverence and esteem.
Hogwash. We should love our country. We should learn its history and take pride in its achievements. We should be willing to fight for and die for and live for everything good that that flag represents. And we should teach that love to our children.
Explorations To Teach Love For Your Flag
Here are some things you can do to foster that love:
- Learn some stories about your flag. US, Can, Britain
- Sing patriotic songs.
- Learn flag etiquette and practice it at home before attending a parade, sporting event, or flag ceremony.
- Attend an official flag retiring ceremony. Ask a local veterans, Boy Scout, or Girl Scout organization if they have one planned any time soon.
- Learn the history of your country. Don’t gloss over the bad stuff, but do emphasize the great stuff; the part we want to emulate and internalize and make not only our past but our future.
- Get your kids involved in organizations that teach love of country and respect for the flag, like the Boy Scouts.
- Be aware of the military actions your country has been involved in and is involved in. Talk about the honor and sacrifice of those who serve. Remember to mention the heroes, the service, the sacrifice of ordinary soldiers. Tell them that our soldiers rebuilt roads and schools and hospitals in the war torn countries of Iraq and Afghanistan. Tell them that our men and women have devoted time and money and blood to protect the weak, not only of our country but of the nations of our enemies. Tell them the stories of soldiers who lost their limbs, sight, or health in serving you and I. Tell them about the ones who never came home.
- Do a flag craft. US, Can.
- Take photos of your kids with your flag. It looks really cool and will be meaningful to them for years and years.
- Learn about your State/Province flag as well.
- Take a field trip to a military cemetery near you or to the site of a battlefield or other important historical location.