In 1951, when I was six, I was sitting between my father and my Uncle Jim Lopez in my uncle’s new car. My mother and my siblings were in the back seat, and we were on the way to Houston. Uncle Jimmy was doing 80 mph when the state trooper pulled him over. At a time when the entire Texas Highway Patrol was Anglo, that trooper treated Uncle Jimmy with respect. Instead of ticketing him, that trooper shook my uncle’s hand and bid him safe journey.
You see, the Korean War was in full force, and Uncle Jimmy was in uniform.
I shall ever remember a trip to the area of New Port News Virginia in 1953. My Uncle Eddie Flaherty and my father, both veterans of World War II, took us there. I was overwhelmed by sight, for as far as I could see, out in the harbor and out into the sea, hundreds of American ships of war. And on the land for as far as one could see, were war planes in salvage, miles and miles, and tens of thousands of them. America was indeed the mightiest nation on the face of the earth!
In Falls Church, Virginia, where Uncle Eddie and Aunt Mary had bought a home, one felt the pride that was being felt all over the country. Their home at 1202 Westmoreland was but one of the hundreds of thousands being built to house the veterans of World War II and Korea. The men who had fought those wars felt they could do anything, and America was great because of their sacrifices.
What would Uncle Eddie, wounded on Utah Beach, say of those who burn the nation’s colors to protest the election of a President? What say those returning wounded and maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan? What say those who gather up the remains of their loved ones killed in action? Those who burn the Flag trample upon the memory of those who have sanctified it with their blood and their very lives.
The Lord cannot be pleased in such actions, for theirs is the sin of ingratitude. Let us instead, whatever our political affiliation, look forward confidently, putting our trust in our God, and remember that the Flag symbolizes the sacrifice of those who gave their all in behalf of their beloved country.
The Flag represents the grief and the tears and the broken hearts of parents who will never again in this life see a beloved child again, and of the spouse who will never again hold her beloved husband. It symbolizes the sobs of children who have loved and lost a beloved father. Yes, our Flag symbolizes broken hearts. Seen in that light, we can be sure that the Lord is not pleased in its desecration.
“O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife, Who more than self their country loved And mercy more than life! America! America! God shed His grace on thee.”