American flag

The American flag: the great unifier. And we need it now. (video) – Ray Rickman

by Nancy Thomas, publisher & Ray Rickman

A spontaneous video done one day in the Stages of Freedom and African American Museum and gift shop is on its way to becoming viral – bringing in accolades from the left, the right – and the middle. And Ray Rickman says, isn’t that the whole idea?

We remember a time when there was a great unifier – a symbol that drew Americans together in a time of threat and need – our American flag. We remember when there wasn’t a front yard, a car, an office, a desk, or a flower pot without the American flag waving. It was after 9-11. A time when we didn’t know if the whole world was crashing down around these United States of America.

We added little emoji flags to our emails. We put our keys on flag keychains. We proudly wore the red-white-and-blue in a variety of ways. And patriotic songs were popular, and were played on all genres of radio stations, before and after television shows, and printed on newspaper mastheads.

We watch naturalization services and watch people who are becoming US citizens waving their small American flags – they worked hard to earn their place here – and have learned probably more about our history than those born in the US know.

As divisiveness has spread like wildfire in our country – and in many countries – perhaps this is a good time to once again embrace the American flag. We can fly all the others, if we are motivated to do so – the Blue Line, the Pride, the BLM, and all the patriotic days of proud immigrants’ counntries who live in this country now – but first – and foremost – and with the most pride – let us buy an American flag – fly an American flag – it just could be the great American unifier.

Surely we want to embrace peace – and not live in the scourge of animus that surrounds us – surely we do?

September 11th happened in 2001 – 23 years ago. No one in our public schools was alive then. Our newest teachers weren’t alive then, or have any memory of those days. But there was a time when we came together as one – when we greeted each other with smiles and civility. Those who remember have a hard time seeing that time as a one-off – we know how powerful it was – and it can be again.

80 years ago. D-Day. Over 156,000 young men fought for our freedom. 2,500 Americans died for our freedom that day – over 400,000 in service to World War II. Now seems like a good time to remember our patriotism.

So, thank you, Ray… we still have our keychain – but we’re ordering our flag – and we put our banner back on our front door. Won’t you, too?

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