“How dare Google not have the American flag on Memorial Day?” , I saw on Facebook. I didn’t consider that. I went to my Google homepage and I saw a screen that was plain, in the colors of mourning, with a link to listen to Taps, a song that sends a chill down any American’s spine. I remember listening to my son practice it on his trumpet as he was being groomed to be the person to play it at the parade when he was old enough. I would have been so proud to say that was my son playing that song in honor of those we have lost. (He ended up quitting band upon entering high school, due to the band director being disapproving of those people who wanted to do both band and sports.) I found nothing offensive; in fact, the opposite was true. I appreciated the simplicity, the focus on the mourning of these men and women who fought for our rights to be offended at whatever we wanted to be. I thought the somber simplicity was the perfect approach. The day is about those who we have lost. It isn’t about arguing about patriotism or being outraged.
I don’t need to see an American flag everywhere to know someone loves their country. I don’t have a flag on my lawn, doesn’t mean I don’t love my country. People equate a symbol, the flag, and boast it as if it’s the only way to show your patriotism. We’re not supposed to honor symbols; we’re supposed to honor the spirit. Yes, I do believe in saying the pledge. Yes, I do believe you don’t talk during the anthem and you show your respect as you would if you were praying. I don’t need to wear the flag to show my love for those who are serving, have served, and sacrificed it all for us. I believe in showing respect to our soldiers when we see them in public, with my sons saying “Thank you” or saluting them. It’s the little acts, not the grand gestures. I believe that you show your patriotism fighting for those who can’t whenever you can. I believe that you show your patriotism by giving thanks to those who chose to fight so that you didn’t have to.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in the flag. I repeat, in bold this time: This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in the flag. This is a symbol of our country, this is something to be revered. I just mean to point out that the most important thing, the thing that we are actually fighting for, is the American spirit. The spirit of not being told to sit down and take it. The spirit of fighting for our beliefs, for justice, for peace. The American flag is a symbol of the American spirit; not a replacement for it.
This need to be outraged about everything has gotten crazy. Some people on the far-right insist that it’s only the “snowflake libtards” that get outraged over nothing, when it’s both sides that want to make everything “a thing”. I recently joined groups for my community because I wanted to see about our local politicians. I wanted to see how us citizens could inspire change. Instead, I see dumpster fire level outrage over nothing. I see people flaming each other for nothing. I see the worst in humanity when really, I just wanted to see how these people wanted to help our communities. Instead, it’s all fake outrage. It’s finding controversy where there isn’t any. Apparently this is the new American way.
I don’t believe in searching out controversy. I don’t believe in following those who do. I believe the politicians and the media want us to be outraged at whatever they tell us to, in part, just because they can do it and no one will question it. I question it. I wonder why they are making a mountain out of a molehill. I believe in getting back to the true American spirit.