Flag Day


Some thoughts on Flag Day.

It is this coming Saturday.

There was a time in our history when our flag was empty of experience. It had the symbolism of a United people and the expectation of greatness, but we were a young country and as yet had little collective history.

The United States wasn’t even a year old when Continental Congress adopted the design on June 14th, 1777. But now as we celebrate Flag Day this week, we remember that our flag is much more than red and white cloth stripes and symbolic stars in blue.

It’s everything that’s ever happened to this country and everything we’ve ever done. It’s victory and defeat. It’s protests and pageantry. It’s honor with humility and shame with remorse. It’s living and dying for principle.

Above all our flag is the waving symbol for all the world to see of our passion for liberty, our sustaining belief in the democratic ideal, our willingness to spend life and treasure for freedom for all.

Hot and Hotter

I thought I’d try something today to get a little relief from the heat. I wrote a paragraph in the freeze of last winter to describe the cold. I looked it up and re-read it to see if I could feel a little cooler. Here it is from wintertime.

“This day is a draining, shivering cold. There is a frigid thunk to the wind chimes on the porch, not the usual resonate ring of atoms in easy motion. The chime sound is tight, quick and solid as if it is too hard and too stiff for even the ring to move beyond its source. Everything has stillness about it except the wind and it too shivers as it seeks the elusive warmth of icy friction”.

I read it twice this afternoon and it didn’t help.

Stay cool.

Black and White

There is a tendency for some in our society to lump people into groups, cultures, and races, and even religions and then judge them only because of their color and their religion

If you take time to see individual accomplishments, great or small, collective lumping, under the banner of different or regional prejudice, appears foolish.

Every time you turn on a light think of Lewis Latimer. He improved the electric lamp.

Norbert Rillieau was special. He helped revolutionize sugar refining.

Andrew Beard invented the automatic coupler for railroad cars.

Garrett Morgan patented the automatic traffic light back in the early 19-hundreds.

The treatment of glaucoma and arthritis was advanced by chemist Percy Julian.

All of these individuals worked for the good of all mankind. They all just happen to be black.

I’ve seen the trash that permeates the Internet under the guise of truth. Do not take my word for it, but do your own diligence and before you judge or pass the lies on, check it out for yourself. It is not difficult. It just takes a little time, a little effort and a little common sense.

D-Day

It is an anniversary today. A terrible remembrance of sacrifice and courage. It is D-day, June 6th, the storming of the beaches in Normandy, France in an operation called “Overlord”. I was there on the June 6, 1999 anniversary with six veterans who had not been back since they fought and crawled on those beaches in 1944.

“Lest we forget.”
© 1999 Rolland G. Smith

It was the day and the month the warriors returned
To the place where many died, the dawn the beaches burned.
The hard of then, now softened by the passage of the years.
It freed again the feelings that surfaced with the tears.

The mind and step would falter returning to the scene
Their bodies now are different. The beaches now pristine.
So many came to witness the warriors return
And wondered if their courage was something they could learn.

Valor comes in time of need, for courage is within
When tyranny oppresses it rises once again.
Old warriors we thank you, for life and limb you gave
To hold the sacred honor of the free and the brave.

You came from planes and gliders and from the ships at sea
And moved across the beaches to free French Normandy.
You now return to see, the place of battle fears
The combat dead now hold you and wipe away your tears.

The world too rejoices in thanks for how you fought
It weeps for lives that lost and too for lessons taught.
And if there is a legacy, besides long rows of white,
Let it be a world call, never the need to fight.