One Nation Under God · 29 June 2007

At church on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, it was announced that a Marine was in the audience. The whole congregation at Cascade Community Church stood and clapped for quite some time. The Marine looked a bit shy and uncomfortable at all of the attention but I hope that he understood the sentiment was respect for him and his fellow soldiers. It was respect given by people who may or may not support the war effort but who support the troops.

At first glance, it might seem odd that the congregation of a church would support the troops fighting in a war that is hotly debated around the country. But then again, maybe our church and the people of this country have figured out that we need to recognize and support our troops. Troops who have taken an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960). These people who have vowed to take up arms to support and defend the Constitution do not just say some words, and then go about their daily lives like those of us who say the flag salute. They live their oath. They may or may not be doing what the general population thinks defending the Constitution means but they are risking their lives for the ideal of “liberty and justice for all.”

As a high school teacher, I say the flag salute every school day. I respect those who do not say the words or even stand as long as they are respectful of those who do. I remember reading about a young man at Monroe High School who refused to stand for the flag salute because a relative of his died in the war. He has been both praised and condemned for his actions. I can only say that I respect his decision. I respect his decision because the defenders of the Constitution have fought and still fight for his right to stand or not stand for the flag. Even more than that, they fight to protect the right to burn our beloved flag. The same flag that the troops are willing to die for. In reality, they do not fight and die for the flag but for the ideals that the flag represents. The ideals put forth by the Constitution and embodied in the flag salute.

Having never served in the military, I am humbled by those who have and who do. I am proud to know them because of the ideals they serve. And while I do not understand the reasons for or politics of war, I respect those who do the fighting. I support them for their dedication and devotion to this country. I believe that most of us do.

I am glad that we see commercials of people cheering for the veterans coming home rather than repeats of the newscasts from the sixties and seventies. The newscasts of veterans coming home to angry citizens who were mad at the people in power but could only take it out on the people in uniform. I am glad that we can stand in church and recognize men and women in uniform whether it is Memorial Day, Independence Day, or just another Sunday. I am glad that we can support our troops.

I may not always agree with what the people running our country do but I still believe in The United States of America. I still believe in the flag and what it represents. And I am proud to stand for the flag and for the men and women who defend this country and its Constitution. The words of the flag salute may have lost some of their potency with repeated use but I still believe in “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

© 2007 Michael T. Miyoshi

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