Opinion

The faded flag | Tito Hinojos

I had arrived early to pick up my grandson from school. As I waited for the bell of dismissal, I was moved by emotion as three careless students were handling the symbol of our freedom as if it were just a faded flag.

My mind wandered into a place of fake nirvana, as I visualized the flag’s behavior of her display during the course of that day. Here is the short clip of Old Glory.

It’s a clear and brisk morning and she was carried outside to the freshness of Mother Nature. She took a whiff of the clean refreshing air, which was definitely a lot better than being locked up inside an office all folded up. Her first thought after the big exhale of "ahhh" was one of exuberance. She knew she was going to have another opportunity to proudly display her beautiful colors of red, white and blue.

As the flag is hooked on to the cable that transports her to the top of her sitting place, she begins to sing aloud the "The Star-Spangled Banner.” Oh, you should have seen her smile as she burst into the victorious phrase "over the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Her colors were as sharp as ever; there was no sign of stress as she synchronized her first wave with the light breeze of the morning.

It’s 8 a.m. and Old Glory is set high above where she can see the fruit of her labor. She proudly waved to the cluttered streets, the surrounding commercial buildings where her recipients of her accomplishments were going in and out.

Mr. Wind, who by the way is her best friend, greets her with a soft poof of wind from the side that sports her stars. Old Glory welcomes his gesture of camaraderie, for he provides her the ability to expand her colors.

At the flow of the wind, Old Glory is waving her majestic decor toward the east. It is a great way to start the day, as she moves about with a swagger of pride, knowing that her stripes and stars are what allows people to freely move about in various activities. She is happy because they are helping their neighbors and working together to keep the peace and the hope alive.

Mr. Wind has shifted to the west where the flag is now experiencing a change of climate. What was a joyful wave to the east had now turned into a sad and painful wave of her colors. She thought of the children's song that says "his banner over me is love" and tearfully watched the church where that child sings that chorus is also rejecting the poor. It was the opposite of what she observed earlier that morning. Old Glory was actually speechless as she saw people killing each other, kids suffering and the creation of the Almighty being abused.

She was determined that America was not going to live like this, and started singing aloud;: “America, America, God shed his grace on thee…"

The wind had ceased just as the clock struck noon. The red, white and blue had by now waved two of her four motions. There was very little motion in this wave, as if someone was saying, "be still." This was the south side of her view from atop the pole, which gave her a clear vista of the commotion and the confusion that plagues America.

In spite of her motionless wave of her colors, people were going everywhere in a rush, as they scrambled to different eating places, shopping malls, business meetings, political events, and most of the children were playing in the school’s playground.

The flag waited for the first exhaling of Mr. Wind and burst out with the funky song, "Only in America." This tune got Mr. Wind so excited that he blew and blew until his face turned blue. In between billows of wind, Mr. Wind yelled out, "Keep on waving Old Glory, for your colors are the reason America is so blessed and prosperous."

That moved the red, white and blue to say, "Amen!"

She was glowing as she remembered the many times she was waved after a victorious accomplishment by an American, and also of the thousands of human beings that lived in dark worlds of tyranny but now enjoy the freedom of America. Oh yes, she said, indeed it is true — and sang "I’m proud to be an American…"

Whew, that was some windy time. Now it is 3 p.m. and Mr. Wind has shifted his direction to the north. Old Glory realizes that it is almost time for her to be put back inside the school principal’s office. In the remaining 20 minutes, she proudly waves her dressing, but this time it is a different proudness.

This is the look of dominance and victory. It seems contrasting, almost as if it’s like a coin flip, with one side heads and the other tails. On the heads side, there were the men and women who throughout the history of our nation served and fought for our colors. She was proud of the thousands of men and women who today serve our country as public servants. What really moved the heart of her wave was the flag that was being created of different colors as they sang "We are the world."

Just as Miss Flag was about to join in with the choir of diversity, Mr. Wind flipped the direction to the tails side of the coin. This is where my emotion kicks in.

The three students are roughing up Old Glory as if she hadn’t been in enough wars. They tugged her as if they were battling for human rights, all while wrinkling her stars. Then as she is folded, her tail touches the ground in which blood, sweat and tears have been shed for our freedom during many battlegrounds. In spite of the warmness of that spring day, there was moisture on the ground as if tears were dripping from the stars and stripes.

It was then that I saw the faded flag but for a moment. I returned back to reality and I realized that even when my colors of red, white and blue are not respected, they still outshine any other colors.

Oh yes, Old Glory sang: "And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there…"

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