The Land Below the Red, White & BlueJun 23, 2023 02:34PM ● By Lynn Gendusa
When I pass an American flag with those familiar stars and stripes flying above me, I momentarily forget the news of the day, the political rhetoric and the state of our divisiveness. Instead, there is a swelling of pride and a reminder of how fortunate I am to have been born in the land below the flag.
I should fly the banner above my television to keep me from shouting obscenities at the screen when the news makes it seem there is nothing good to report about our country. Perhaps I should paint my walls with stars and stripes to calm me down after listening to the politicians rant and spread hatred.
Yes, I need the flag.
When the red, white and blue drapes a soldier’s coffin, my heart mourns for the many who have suffered and died to keep our banner billowing over a free land.
When the flag is hoisted above a school, or over a library, or atop a government building, I remind myself of the privileges that enable all Americans to go to school, read any book we choose and to freely elect or reject our leaders.
The American flag flying at half-mast brings tears to my eyes because it symbolizes a loss or a tragedy which has brought our citizens to their collective knees.
Our flag is a symbol of our hope, unification, spirit and glory. To gain our independence was a task deemed improbable by many of our ancestors in the early 1700s. Courage, intelligence and conviction turned an unlikelihood into the United States of America. From 1776 until today, we have defended the right to stay united and free.
In 2001 when terrorists attacked our nation, we watched an atrocity which caused our citizens to unite in grief and prayer. We forgot we were Democrats or Republicans with differences, and instead collectively shouted, “This is OUR country, OUR flag, and we will defend it!” We ran outside to raise the red, white, and blue above our porches and in our yards because we who mourned were all Americans.
When we argue over guns, immigration, taxes, health care or over which candidate is the best, we must pause for a moment and be grateful we can debate, disagree and sometimes behave like morons because we are free to open our mouths.
When we attend church and gather around a Sunday School water cooler to discuss what is wrong with our country, why not stop to give thanks to God for placing us in a land where we can freely worship, freely sing of glory and openly praise God and not a dictator?
This July 4th, while the grill is heating and the watermelon is chilling, why not pause for a moment to rejoice that we have food to eat and most of our children don’t know hunger? While the kids swim under the sun and play among the shade trees, let’s remind ourselves of the children in other countries who walk miles to escape violence and those who will perish along the way.
If we cut our finger while slicing watermelon, let’s stop and remember we will probably not die because a “doc in the box” is within a mile and available when we do dumb things like slice our finger. We do not need to travel for miles searching for help.
As the fireworks explode into the night sky and cascade to the ground in vibrant colors, let’s pause to honor the soldier who hears bombs explode on a battlefield, witnesses his comrades fall and does so to ensure we may continue celebrating our Independence Day.
I wish I could bring folks around our country together for one big July 4th picnic. I would ask all of America to join hands and give thanks to God for this great country we all call home and pray the red, white and blue continues to wave proudly above our land.
Launched from Snooks Bottom at dusk (closed to public.) Popular viewing sites: Rotary Park, the Visitor Center and James M. Robb State Park.
4th of July Western Sky Balloon Festival
Fireworks show at 9:40 p.m., Confluence Park, Delta - See CityofDelta.net for event schedule
Downtown 4th of July Parade
10 a.m.-12 p.m., Main Street, Grand Junction
Grand Junction Fireworks
9:45 p.m., Lincoln Park
Palisade 4th of July Parade & Celebration
10 a.m., Downtown Palisade and Veteran’s Memorial Park
Parade at 10 a.m., Main Street
Fireworks launched from Sunset Mesa at dusk