With your permission, I would like to indulge in a little naked patriotism.
The United States of America, during my lifetime, has become a nation like none other on Earth. Not because it is the most powerful nation on earth, but because we, more times than I can count, have taken the side of the oppressed with no intention to conquer, rule or pillage.
In the act of offering our assistance, we have sacrificed blood, money and lives. We have beat ourselves up. We have questioned our motives. Our leaders have engaged in heated debate about the hows and whys, but we continue to be the single brightest light for the world’s mistreated. We will take on the schoolyard bully.
In spite of all our mistakes, missteps, misjudgments and misgivings, the world today would be a completely different place if our country; conservative, liberal, black, white, rich, poor, North, South, Manhattan, N.Y. or Manhattan, Kan., Americans all, had turned our backs on the injustices and inhumanities that relentlessly stalk the globe.
Supporting the troops and their families on the front lines in the war on terror is not a partisan act. It is an act of pride, compassion, love, concern, anguish and hope. They carry our colors into harm’s way and have since 1776.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you The Flag
That flew over Valley Forge
Was torn in two by the gray and the blue
And bled through two world wars.
I give you the flag that burned in the street
In protest, in anger and shame,
The very same flag that covered the men
Who died defending her name.
We now stand together, Americans all,
Either by choice or by birth
To honor the flag that’s flown on the moon
And changed the face of the Earth.
History will show this flag stood a friend
To the hungry, the homeless and lost
That a mixture of men as common as clay
Valued one thing beyond cost.
And they’ve signed it in blood from Bunker Hill
To Saigon, Kuwait, Bosnia, Kabul, Baghdad, Syria and Toko Ri.
I give you the flag that says to the world
Each man has a right to be free.
Baxter Black is a cowboy, veterinarian, poet and humorist. His website is www.baxterblack.com.