The American flag is an inspiration to freedom-loving people around the world. We see it today with the masses fighting for freedom in Hong Kong. They carry our flag and sing our national anthem. Over the years, we have seen similar feelings expressed around the world.
Our veterans have worn the American flag on their uniforms and carried it into battle. More than a piece of cloth, it represents the freedoms that so many fought for — and too many died defending.
Sadly, the American flag, the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem are under siege. Months ago, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban suggested that the team was no longer going to play the national anthem before games. Schools across the country have removed flags from the classroom and only a few still say the pledge of allegiance at all. Legacy media outlets push false narratives about the flag.
On Tuesday, New York Times Editorial Board member Mara Gay spoke about this on MSNBC:
“I was on Long Island this weekend and visiting a really dear friend and I was really disturbed. I saw you know, dozens and dozens of pick-up trucks with expletives against Joe Biden on the back of them, Trump flags, and in some cases just dozens of American flags which, you know, is also just disturbing because essentially the message was clear. It was: ‘This is my country, this is not your country, I own this.”
Her comments about the flag made me think of a song we sang when I attended the American Legion’s Badgers Boys State. The song is “This Is My Country” and the words are:
“This is my country! Land of my birth!
This Is my country! Grandest on earth!
I pledge thee my allegiance, America, the bold,
For this is my country to have and to hold.
What diff’rence if I hail from North or South
Or from the East or West?
My heart is filled with love for all of these.
I only know I swell with pride and deep within my breast
I thrill to see Old Glory paint the breeze.
With hand upon heart I thank the Lord For this my native land,
For all I love is here within her gates.
My soul is rooted deeply in the soil on which I stand,
For these are mine own United States.
This is my country! Land of my choice!
This is my country! Hear my proud voice!
I pledge thee my allegiance, America, the bold,
For this is my country! To have and to hold.”
Mara Gay and the others at The New York Times editorial board might misrepresent the lyrics to this song as well. That is why I included every verse.
Without a doubt, the song is about pride in our country. To be clear, however, that pride encompasses those who were born here — as well as those who came here by choice. The author does not distinguish where people are from (North or South, East or West). His “heart is filled with love for all of these.”
As a kid, I remember putting American flags on the graves of all the veterans in our small town each Memorial Day. Our assistant Scoutmaster Claire Condon would handle the logistics and we would do the work. Mr. Condon was a veteran of both World War I and II. He loved the flag and all that it represents. We learned to share his reverence.
On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed an act establishing an official flag for the new nation. The resolution stated: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
Today the flag consists of 13 horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with six white. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies and the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well; red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.
In many ways, the threads of the flag are like the many different individuals in our country. Each of us is unique. We come from many different backgrounds, races, ethnicities, religions, sexes, etc., yet — as our national motto E Pluribus Unum — out of many, one.
Like the observations of Mara Gray, however, the left wants to pit one group of Americans against another. They represent division and socialism. As conservatives, we should inspire opportunity and freedom for all.
The design of our flag has changed many times since 1777. Regardless of the design, the American flag has always represented the same core values. In the same way, our nation has changed and improved many times since we declared our independence on July 4, 1776. We will continue to improve as long as we remain devoted to freedom. Let us remember that as we celebrate Flag Day.
• Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him @ScottWalker.