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Letter: Old Glory speaking out on respect for our nation's flag

Note: This piece has been published in various formats online and in print for several years, most famously in a column by Ann Landers. This was submitted on behalf of our local service organizations.

Some people call me Old Glory. Others call me the Star Spangled Banner; but whatever they call me. I am your flag, the flag of the United States of America.

Something has been bothering me and I thought I might talk it over with you because it concerns you can me.

I remember when people would line up on both sides of the street to watch a parade and naturally I would be leading it, proudly waving in the breeze. When your daddy saw me coming he immediately removed his hat and placed it against his left shoulder so that his right hand was directly over his heart – remember?

And you. I remember you, standing their straight as a soldier. You didn't have a hat but you were giving the right salute. Remember little sister? Not to be outdone, she was saluting the same as you, with her right hand over her heart. Remember?

What happened? I'm still the same old flag. Oh, I have a few more stars than I used to have, a lot of blood has been shed since those parades of long ago.

But now, I don't feel as proud as I used to. When I come down the street you just stand there with your hands in your pockets. I may get a small glance and then you look away. Then I see the children running around and shouting – they don't seem to know who I am. I saw one man take off his hat then look around and when he didn't see anybody else with theirs off, he quickly put his back on.

Is it a sin to be patriotic anymore? Have you forgotten what I stand for and where I've been? Valley Forge, Bull Run, the Alamo, the Argonne, Guadalcanal, Korea, Vietnam? Take a look at the Memorial Honor Rolls of those who never came back in order to keep this republic free – one nation under God. When you salute me, you are actually saluting them.

Well, it won't be long before I'll be coming down the street again. So, when you see me, stand straight, place your right hand over your heart and I'll salute you by waving back – and I'll know that you remembered.