Recently, I had a conversation with a relative about taking a stand for what’s right.  Her response was pretty much like what society’s leaning is.  Don’t get involved, ride the fence, and just let whatever will be, be.

After I had that conversation, I became even more steadfast in my belief that if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

Shortly after I finished that conversation and hung up the phone, I walked down the drive to retrieve the morning paper.   In doing so I noticed our flag, hoisted some 20 feet above the ground, had become tattered.

I stared at “Old Glory” for quite a while and saw symbolism waving in the breeze.

The American flag consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton (referred to specifically as the “union”) bearing fifty white stars.  The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 States of America and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from Great Britain and became the first states in the Union.

My wife and I always buy the finest quality American flags we can find, but for some reason the stitching that held the red and white stripes together on our flag had come apart and the stripes were flapping in the wind independently of the blue rectangle encompassing the 50 stars.

The current 50-star version of the American flag was adopted on July 4, 1960.  The man credited with the design was Robert G. Heft.  He was 17 years old at the time and created the flag design in 1958 as a high school class project.  His mother was a seamstress but refused to do any of the work for him.  He originally received a B- for the project.  After discussing the grade with his teacher, it was agreed that if the flag was accepted by Congress, the grade would be reconsidered.  Heft’s flag design was chosen and adopted by presidential proclamation after Alaska and before Hawaii was admitted into the Union in 1959.  According to Heft, his teacher did keep their agreement and changed his grade to an A.

As I stood and stared at one of the nation’s most widely recognized symbols, I thought to myself many just don’t seem to understand what America really is.  It’s not some abstract entity, it’s a collage of “We the People” and there’s worth in that.

Symbolism in that shattered flag was astounding to me.

We’re a nation in divide, and we have a president who encourages it.

“Proud to be an American” seems to be fleeting words anymore.

America has a Flag Code that outlines certain guidelines for the use, display, and disposal of the flag.  For example, the flag should never be dipped to any person or thing.  The tradition may have come from the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, where countries were asked to dip their flag to King Edward VII:  the American flag bearer did not.  Team captain Martin Sheridan was quoted as saying “This flag dips to no earthly king.”

Yet, many of our politicians believe America isn’t really anything special.  Several college professors around the country share that line of thought, too, and have become activists in the cause and we pay thousands for the indoctrination.

The media is, in most cases, co-conspirators in that left-leaning agenda push as well.

A presidential candidate held many of the nation’s top secrets on a private computer server in her basement, yet she goes unpunished or even chastised.  The current administration refuses to charge her with espionage – it reeks with an odor of corruption.

A Christian couple, who had a baking business in Oregon, recently had over $7,000.00 confiscated from their bank accounts by an official in that state all because they simply refused to bake a cake for a lesbian couple – so much for the Constitutional right of freedom of religion.  That official said: “Gay-rights trump religious liberty.”

“Old glory” represents a collection of people and it still waves, but it’s being ripped to shreds while many say: “I don’t wanna get involved; I think I’ll just ride the fence and let whatever will be, be.”

Greg Allen’s column, Thinkin’ Out Loud, was published bi-monthly from 2009 to 2017.  He’s an author, a former nationally syndicated columnist and the founder of Builder of the Spirit Ministries in Jamestown, Indiana.  He can be reached at

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