Yesterday I was taking some time that I do not have to waste my life on Pinterest. I actually really love pinterest. Most of the things I pin I get to trying at some point. Well, I used to. Before life got crazy busy.
One of my favorite things to find and pin are patriotic ideas. There was a time in my life where if you told me that I would have a soft spot for old Glory somewhere down the road I'd look at you like you were a fool. But now give me a pin with a faded red, white, and blue and I am suckered in.
I have gotten into the (very good, I think) habit of going to the source of a pin before pinning it myself. When I saw two of my favorite things - a reclaimed window and an American Flag - I nearly just hit "repin" which I almost never, never do anymore. I caught myself and went to the site and then clicked the link featuring the project to go to the source of the project.
It was adorable and shanty-chic and I could imagine every part of it in our home. I scrolled through the pictures, the supplies, and then I got to the step-by-step. Very simply it said, "Cut the flag into pieces that fit your window pane."
I crouched forward as I sucked in air.
I can't tell you how long I sat on that page trying to decide how I felt about it. I read through the comments. It seemed based on some of the comments left that someone else had left a comment that had been deleted that must have explained why you do not cut a flag. I don't know what the deleted comment said but whatever it was the author felt the need to discard it.
I cannot tell you what all I felt about it. There was anger, and confusion, and questioning, and disgust, and so many other things. Mainly I was angered that someone must have said something and the page owner deleted it because she didn't agree - or didn't like being called out.
Because, yes, it was a beautiful project, yes it was something I wanted to do right up until I saw the words "cut the flag".
I thought about it through the night. Thought about it while volunteering today. I questioned if I was over-reacting. If it was because I held it dearer than some. If I was wrong to react the way I did even just with myself. I was incredibly confused over if what I did feel was the same as what I should feel. Was it really that big a deal?
While driving home from the baseball practice that Logan didn't have but this momma forgot he didn't have, I took a turn down a road that I didn't mean to turn down. I saw the MP SUV blocking the roadway and one car stopped behind him. I looked at the clock on the dash and realized it was five o'clock on the dot (1700 hr) and I, too, stopped my car and stood outside my door. I watched as car after car after car after car stopped and watched the drivers and passengers get out. Civilians and soldiers. Every one exited their car and faced the flag just yards from us. In silence, the formation behind the flag waited. In silence, dozens of Americans stood at attention as the slow and careful hands pulled the thick cord, one hand over the other. In the Colorado wind, just as it was at it's lowest, another soldier's hands moved quickly to tame the whipping of the flag so close to the ground, not allowing a thread of it to touch.
This was my reminder.
I almost dropped our flag in our garage many many months ago. The bottom corner came so close to the dirty ground of our garage. I have never seen C move so quickly. I have never seen his hand as forceful and as graceful as they were in the moment he caught that corner, stopping it an instant before it touched the cold concrete.
No one would have known that flag had fallen.
How great a respect, how urgent the sense to sustain it.
No oath is administered without it present. No fallen soldier returns home without being draped by it. No widow goes without soaking its folds in her tears.
Maybe to the many, cutting the thread is meaningless. Maybe to some, it can be justified. If the fact that the thought of it makes me cringe makes me "out-of-touch" so be it. If the fact that we stop our cars and face the symbol of our nation when it is raised and lowered makes us submerged in this life, I am okay with that.
The flag is not something that should divide a nation. It is not something that we should battle over what respect it is due or what it stands for. It isn't something that should be so disregarded that to snip it into pieces like any other piece of fabric or paper doesn't matter.
It does matter.
It is a symbol of unity, of strength, a constant beacon for those who defend it.
It does matter.
And it deserves the respect of a nation.