I have found the hill that I am willing to die on. My cause is the American flag. When Francis Scott key penned the Star-Spangled Banner as he observed the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814 during the War of 1812, the flag became a symbol, a symbol of honor, perseverance and courage. That same flag still flies because of those attributes.
I was introduced to our flag at the age of 5 or 6. While watching the dilapidated television set that a police officer with a wife, three children, and a mortgage, could afford; when that flag was flown at the end of the broadcast, I was taught to stand and place my right hand over my heart. I was taught to respect not only that piece of cloth, but everything it symbolized.
Sixty years later, whenever I see that pennant soaring in the wind, I visualize my grandfather riding his horse while his calvary unit charged a German machinegun position in World War I. I visualize my father flying his P-47 fighter over the German skies eliminating military targets in World War II. I visualize my cousin standing his ground in the jungles of Viet Nam while surrounded and outnumbered fighting for his life and of those around him. As you see, the flag is not just a pretty piece of cloth, it is a majestic symbol.
I don’t ask much from people: all I request is a modicum of respect for a symbol that I revere, or possibly, simply the suppression of the disrespect from those individuals who hate our flag. I invite the same level of respect that they so callously demand from me. Disagreements in politics, social agendas, and religion can be discussed at a responsible level. Why can’t a person like me be afforded the same luxury as others demand from me?
Those brave souls I have mentioned, along with millions of others, have made the ultimate sacrifice. They have offered their lives to protect Old Glory and asked nothing in return. I stand with those brave men and women.
I am closer to the end of my life than the beginning. I have not a lot more to lose. This is the hill I am willing to die on to protect and defend the memories of those who have made this flag a symbol of pride, honor and freedom throughout this world.
To all my brothers and sisters in blue, lock and load and protect each other. And as always, stay safe.
View Larry Casey’s website at www.StoriesofaChicagoPoliceOfficer.com and review his book by the same name. It makes a great inexpensive gift.