Flags

I’ve always like the idea of being part of a group.  Maybe it’s a primal instinct to enjoy the safety or camaraderie of a pack, but ever since I can remember I’ve been an avid sports fan of my regional teams.  I even looked up to the older kids in my school district.  I’d watch them play football on Friday nights, all decked out in my Bulldog blue and gold and dream of the time when it would be my turn to represent our team in that uniform.

Six days each week I fly an American flag outside of our house.  I love looking at it when I leave and return home each day.  It is a quick reminder to be thankful for the lives we enjoy as Americans and what it has taken to create those lives.  We are not a perfect culture or country.  We have and still do conduct ourselves in ways that are abhorrently wrong and unjust.  We are also a beautiful country full of graceful decent people who honor each other the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

On Saturdays I fly our Ohio State University flag.  It is an homage to mine and my wife’s alma mater.  We love rooting for the football team and revel in the memories of our undergraduate days.  There are things I don’t like about the history of The Ohio State University.  But there is so much more that I am proud of.  It is a land-grant institution that afforded me the opportunity to grow and prepare myself for a career and a graduate program.  I consider it an honor to be affiliated with this institution of higher learning.

As I jog around my neighborhood I see other flags – almost exclusively representing professional athletic teams.  It is interesting to me that of all the ways these families could public identify their allegiances they choose professional athletics.  As I drive on the roads between Morrisville and Raleigh I notice that confederate flag bumper stickers outnumber any other type of flags.  I explain away the ignorance of those who present the confederate flag.  Maybe they are remembering a time where southern solidarity meant something to them or their families.  Maybe they are wildly oblivious to the emotions of pain, discrimination, and death that are conjured by that image.  Or may they’re truly racist bigots.

I have a tougher time rationalizing the lack of American flags.  It almost as though pride in our country has taken on negative connotations.  America is the birthplace of my grandparents, parents, wife, and children.  It is our country and it represents our values.  It is not perfect, but there are enough great things about it that I am proud to fly our flag.
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