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Wave The Flag In Honor, Not Because It's Today's Fad
by
Ed Delgado
(Printed in the Guam Pacific Daily News on 18-OCT-01)

More than a month has past since the horror of Sept. 11. In this time we have seen a number of things. Politicians putting differences aside. The goodness of people in America and all over the world in the form of donations of blood, money and help. We have also seen a resurgence of patriotism. Which is good -- to a point.

It is good because a lot of people who had not realized what it meant to be an American now have an idea. It is good because many people are being forced to answer a wake-up call that the world is not a safe and friendly place and now have to see the world through open eyes. It is good because this event has galvanized us as a nation.

Now you might be asking, if this is all good, then what do you mean "to a point?" Well, there are a few things that have bothered me in the aftermath of this tragedy. Probably the most significant one is everyone waving American flags all over the place. To those people who have been waving the flag for years, I salute you. To those who have just picked up the flag, I say shame on you!

Why did it have to take the deaths of more than 6,000 people to finally take up the flag? Will you continue to fly the Stars and Stripes for years to come? Or will you toss it aside when our government does something that you do not approve of?

Did you ever bother to understand what the Pledge of Allegiance meant before Sept. 11?

I suppose I should be grateful that people are waving the colors of our nation. But it angers me to no end to know that many of these are the same people who will not defend what that flag stands for.

To that end, if you are going to wave the flag of the United States of America, do so with pride -- today, tomorrow and every day after that.

If you are going to wave the symbol of our nation, do so not because it makes you feel good. Do so because when you look at that flag, you get a feeling that cannot be described with words. Do so because you feel it is the right thing to do. Do so in honor of those who have died for our country, both military and civilian. Do so because it has meaning.

Because doing so as a passing fad dishonors those who have fallen and, ultimately, it dishonors what our flag stands for.