Saturday, June 29, 2019

Not just stripes

Let’s run it up the flag pole and see who salutes. I don’t know if people still say that when they have an idea and want to propose it for consideration.  But it’s a good reminder that just because some banner is up the pole, not everybody will, or should, salute.
You know I’m an old Boy Scout, so I take my responsibility toward the flag of the United States very seriously.  I try to take my flag down before sunset, and put it up after sunrise, and even bring it in out of the rain.  I’m always attentive to the way the US flag is displayed among other flags, that it has the position of honor; and when hung it must (must) have the field to its own top right.  I have worn the flag on uniforms, but never as the pattern of a shirt, much less shorts, as has become so popular with the Maryland state flag.
I have lived for years in other countries and have known the surge of pride and relief to see the US flag flying above an embassy, military installation, or cemetery.  
That flag means something and I insist on respect for it; just ask anybody who’s left the flag on the ball field flying and neglected long after the game ended.  Symbols are important, and this nation’s flag is due the respect of all citizens.  We are obliged to salute.
There is no other flag competing for my loyalty.  Sure, I love the (so-called) Vatican flag, but our God, the Faith, and the Church are better represented through other symbols. The yellow and white is a great way to show affection for the Holy Father and respect for his Petrine office, but makes no claims on our fealty as Catholics.
Rebellions and invasions attempt to replace one flag with another, a symbol of the victory they desire.  Let’s run it up the flag pole and see who salutes takes on a different meaning in those circumstances; saluting indicates sympathy with, or submission to the new order.
One sees all manner flags flying or hanging about these days; only some go up with the expectation, nay, the demand that people salute.
One of the joys of having a school and a scout troop around here is that I can freely and honestly join in saying, I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America...
This week as we celebrate our national holiday provides as good a time as any to recommit to salute our national banner - and refuse to salute any other.  Oh say, can you see?
Monsignor Smith

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