Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

How You Treat the Colors

Ok, I know this is going to seem like a small, somewhat insignificant thing to many of you who read this blog, but it is not to me. Call it my upbringing as the son of a soldier, the great-grandson of a medal of honor winning soldier. Call it the Eagle Scout part of me shining forward. Call it my own soldier identity.

During the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games, the camera cut to a very highly placed elected U.S. official, holding a small American flag. He was apparently bored, and was impatiently tapping the American Flag against his knee.

I was mortified. Here was one of the most senior representatives of the United States, representing our nation before the whole world, and he was showing a level of disrespect for the American Flag that once would have brought me to “lock up” and yell at one of my soldiers had they done it, back when I was a Sergeant.  Now, I would just have a quiet word with them… but it would not go unaddressed. 

No matter what you think of particular policies or executive administrations, the flag symbolizes what is both good and not so good about our nation.  It symbolizes all those who have sacrificed for our country.  I understand when, making a statement, some might choose to burn the flag… even if I would not do such a thing myself.  But that is different than casual disregard for it shown by an elected official. 

I’m sure others have treated the colors in a similar way… but others are not the public representative of our country, nor are they one of the most important leaders of our nation.  As a military officer, it would be inappropriate to say which official I am speaking of, but it is something for us to think about when a leader of our nation is publically showing disrespect for the colors, intentionally or unintentionally. 

Impatiently tapping the American Flag against his knee. Unbelievable… And people of his party dare call me unpatriotic just because I am a liberal.

Yours in Faith,


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