April 18, 2018

Patriots’ Day and the Flags of Our Forefathers

We thank God for those generations of Patriots who sacrificed their personal safety in defense of Liberty.

“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” —Thomas Jefferson (1800)

April 19th is Patriots’ Day, commemorating the anniversary of that date in 1775 when American militiamen at Lexington and Concord fired the “Shot Heard ‘Round The World” — the opening volley of the American Revolution.

We hold this historic date in high esteem, along with those days commemorating the anniversaries of our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and its Bill of Rights. Indeed, our publication takes its name in honor of this first generation of American Patriots — and all those since. Unfortunately, Patriots’ Day receives little attention nationally, and even less in educational institutions, where our nation’s stirring and singular history is rarely taught to young people.

The most basic principles of American Liberty and Rule of Law, and the generational sacrifices of millions of Americans who have honored their oaths “to support and defend” Liberty’s enshrinement in our Constitution, are often not understood or appreciated by many young people — and too many adults.

So undervalued are our forbear’s historic sacrifices for Liberty that among the ranks of entrenched ideological leftists are those who view our nation’s flag with contempt. This is often combined with a deep insecurity-driven fear of the Liberty and self-determination it represents and, consequently, a loathing of those willing to defend it.

In our conservative East Tennessee community, the American flag is commonly displayed on houses and, to commemorate Memorial, Independence and Veterans Days each year, is attached to every power pole on the main thoroughfares.

Among the fixed residential flag poles in our community is a 20-foot standard in front of our house.

I installed that pole in June of 1994, on the 50th anniversary of D-Day — the beginning of the end of World War II. I erected it as a humble but fitting tribute to a neighbor, my father’s lifelong best friend and fellow WWII veteran. So close were these two men that we always referred to my father’s friend as “uncle.”

In 1944, my “uncle” was a young Army second lieutenant leading a machine gun platoon on the front lines of notable battles against Hitler’s Wehrmacht in France and Germany until the end of the war. On several occasions in urban combat, he killed the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. Though a strong and tough individual of formidable stature well into his 80s, he recounted those battles with great pain and occasional tears for the loss of life — on both sides.

He has since departed this life, but it’s for him — and for all who have defended Liberty at risk of their own life — that our flag flies high and proud.

Last month, our flag greeted a gathering of Vietnam combat veterans for a reception in our home, including my friend LTC Bill Gauntt, a former POW, who recently returned to that country to make his peace. It was an extraordinary evening, but punctuated by a question asked by one of those decorated veterans, which sparked considerable consternation among these distinguished veterans.

That question: “Does your neighbor object to your flag?”

It was the fifth time I’d been asked that question in recent months, and it stemmed from a plastic yard sign across the street from our flag that asserts, “Hate Has No Home Here” — in multiple languages. Some similar signs popped up in front of a few other residences occupied by “liberals,” ostensibly in response to the clash of socialist and fascist haters in Charlottesville, Virginia, last summer.

All but a handful of those signs disappeared after a month or so.

Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the message on that yard sign, other than it reflects a deranged manifestation of passive-aggressive “virtue signaling” by the those displaying it. Such signs are intended to project that their political views have higher moral authority and standing than the views of others, particularly their conservative neighbors. Notably, virtue signaling yard signs, bumper stickers and the now-ubiquitous social media profile picture frames, are most often the full extent of the “sacrifice” those displaying them undertake to actually change the world for better.

According to the Chicago-based activists who produce and market the signs, they’re needed because, “Hate, unchecked, can make neighbors feel fearful and unwelcome in their own communities. … It’s easy to hate people we don’t know.”

But what about my neighbor?

In a conversation with my neighbor about his plastic sign, he explained that it is not intended as a political statement, but he then added, it’s his way of protesting “the hatred fomented by Donald Trump and his idiotic supporters.” He added, “and all Trump’s jingoistic flag-wavers,” those deplorable people who were not smart enough to support Hillary Clinton.

Despite his insistence on the sign being “apolitical,” it is being sponsored and promoted by the Democrat Party.

The passive-egressive implication of my neighbors “jingoistic flag-wavers” comment notwithstanding, I genuinely like all our neighbors, regardless of their political affinities. I grew up in a home steeped in the principles set forth in the Greatest Commandments (Matthew 22:35-40) and was taught early that there’s good to be found in just about everyone from any walk of life. As a result, I treasure relationships with many friends and colleagues who hold a wide spectrum of beliefs.

To maintain relationships with a few of them, as a rule I avoid engaging in their Chardonnay-soaked political debates which are antithetical to those I share with generations of Patriots who have devoted their lives to Liberty for all.

I subscribe to, and recommend Thomas Jefferson maxim: “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”

Of course, Jefferson also advised, “Love your neighbor as yourself and your country more than yourself.”

When pondering the deeply held political beliefs of those who, like my neighbor, errantly embrace statism, without understanding that its terminus is, irrevocably, tyranny, I recall with a smile how kindly Ronald Reagan put it: “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”

For the record, I don’t display virtue-signaling yard signs, opting instead for action over imagery. (Disclaimer: In recent years a few of my likeminded prankster friends have littered our yard with Obama and Clinton campaign signs — under cover of darkness. All such fraternal insults are answered in kind!)

But make no mistake: I’ll defend my neighbor’s right to post his yard sign.

For me, and for American Patriots nationwide, that defense is, in small part, what our flag represents — and has embodied since the original 13-star Patriot flag was raised after those first shots fired at Lexington Green.

Thus, I’ll always fly our nation’s flag with due honor and pride, and lower it on occasion, as I did at sunrise today in memory of and respect for Barbara Bush. Our flag reflects our gratitude for generations of Patriots who sacrificed their personal safety in defense of Liberty, and the innumerable and extraordinary personal sacrifices under that banner.

As for my neighbor and his likeminded ilk, I reissue these words from Sam Adams at the dawn of American Liberty: “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776

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