Celebrating Independence

On this Fashion Friday, I have a question for you. What does your independence mean to you? The meaning of the word is freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others. As a country we are so blessed to have our freedom. It’s an incredible reason to celebrate and we’ll all spend this weekend honoring our country different ways. Some of us will cookout with friends at the beach, lake or in our backyards. Others will attend baseball games, parades and firework displays. The one thing we will all have in common over this great country is the flying of and perhaps wearing our colors. Red, white and blue. There’ll be no fussing or feuding over what this flag means or the history of it. One more reason to celebrate!

The remainder of this post first appeared in a monthly column, Artful Living, that I write for our neighborhood magazine, Creekside Living.

Sewn on the lap of a Philadelphia seamstress, the broad stripes and bright stars of Old Glory offer a perfect example of artful living. While the original design of the flag had no symbolic meaning of the flags’ colors, after the design of the Great Seal of the United States, significance of the stripes have been attributed to the flag as well. White signifies purity and innocence. Red represents hardiness and valor and Blue proclaims vigilance, perseverance and justice. The thirteen stripes represent the thirteen original colonies and the stars, of course, number the states of our union.

Veteran's Day

The flags that line the streets of Scenic 98, the lamp posts downtown, the Fairhope Pier and concerts on the bluff are a current vision of what could have been the cover of a Saturday Evening Post during the days of Norman Rockwell. He described his work, “I showed the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed.”

Veteran's Day

Fairhopers do this well. Beneath the flags that wave our patriotism toward the sun, are beautiful flowers and sidewalks paved with memorial bricks. The holiday fireworks on the bay are set to patriotic compositions played by the Baldwin Pops as our children march around the bluff waving their flags. Each holiday the children are given a short list of instructions of how to properly carry the banner, being careful to hold it upright and not to let it touch the ground. We still recite the pledge of allegiance and sing our national anthem during the presentation of colors.

A beautiful street in my neighborhood.
A beautiful street in my neighborhood.

Yes, Old Glory has been a symbol of artful living for centuries. It was a symbol of unity and hope on 9/11, victory atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima, courage and accomplishment on the moon and pride on the backs of motorcycles, atop municipal buildings, in corners of class rooms and in small hands along parade routes. And for any who may not have noticed, Rock Creek and Sandy Ford residents also share our love for the America we love and observe. I think Norman Rockwell would be pleased.

Wherever you are celebrating this weekend, think of this… we are all united as Americans on this holiday. There’s no separation of south from north, east from west, black or white, immigrant or native. We are all free to eat, drink and wave our flags with pride on the fourth of July. On Monday some will continue to exercise the freedom to protest what flag should wave where, but for this one day….

Veteran's Day

The Spirit of Patriotism

I’ve decided to add one more “spirit” to our homes as I close the series on The Spirit of Loveliness.

The Spirit of Patriotism.

 

Labor Day

On this Labor Day of 2018, I am reminded why we fly the flag on Labor Day and wanted to share a few facts that I didn’t remember until I research it for this post.

  • According to the Department of Labor, the first celebration of Labor Day was on “Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.”
  • In 1884, the first Monday of September was selected as the official “working man’s holiday”. Many other cities across America began to recognize it as well.
  • The original plans for the celebration included a parade to “exhibit to the public the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations. It was followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.”
  • By 1894 Congress passed an act making it a national holiday, and as a national holiday, the flag was displayed.

The Spirit of Patriotism

Speaking of the flag, when was the last time you said the Pledge of Allegiance?  The last time for me was at a luncheon held in honor of a group of retirees from a local utility company. All attendees stood, we placed our hands over our hearts and recited our commitment to the flag of these United States of America.

Old Glory Photo Credit:Amy Burdette
Old Glory
Photo Credit:Amy Burdette

Until then, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d said it.  I wondered if I was saying it right.  It was like singing the national anthem and forgetting where you are in the song.

As a student, I remember saying the pledge all the way through high school, but never in college.  At football games we sang the national anthem (some even sang the right words). We stood while the flag was raised or lowered. Why and when did it stop being a regular occurrence at large gatherings of Americans to recite the pledge? Those who feel no allegiance can stand quietly with their hands by their side.

I miss reciting the pledge, but I work from home.  I guess I could add that to my quiet time.  The Bible, my journal, the flag, me and the animals.  We’ll figure it out.

Patriotism - American Flag

 

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. [For some reason, I’ve always wanted to say “Amen” at the end of the pledge!]

For more thoughts on patriotism, check out The American Conservative.