In June of last year I was asked to do a short presentation on Patriotism at the Cherryfield Alumni Banquet. I was more than happy to say yes even though I didn't have a clue, at the time, what I might present. Thoughts and emotions came together and the presentation went off just fine (even though I was nervous). After the Banquet was over a number of people came up to me and thanked me. One gentleman said that he would like to see the presentation done on the news . I appreciated his and many other's comments. I'll try to share with you now the presentation I gave. It's a bit different doing it 'on paper' like this. That night I had a small glass window set up and added each 'prop' as I gave the presentation. I am sure I won't be saying all that I said that night but I think you'll get the gist of it.
When you see a Blue Star Service Banner hanging in a window it tells you that the family in that home has a loved one serving in the military during a time of war. Originally the banner was called the 'son in service flag'. The blue star stands for hope and pride. At times you may see a gold star banner. The gold star is a symbol of sacrifice to the cause of liberty and freedom (one has been killed in action).
Show your support of our troops by flying the American Flag on a daily basis, not just on holidays that are set aside for this purpose. Respect and salute the flag in honor of our military, for their 'sevice' to us so that we can enjoy our liberty and freedom. Take your hat off and salute when the flag is going by in a parade, learn to display the flag properly on poles, buildings and at ceremonies. In researching I found a number of people who have come up with what the different colors and parts of the flag mean to them and I would like to share them with you. Red is for hardiness and valour, white is for purity and innocence, blue is for vigilance, perserverence and justice. All of these qualities are what our 'true' american troops are made of and this is what we each should be made of. Some feel that the stars are a symbol of the heavens and divine goal to which man has aspired and that the stripes are symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun. Let us display, respect and honor the flag of the United States of America, in doing so we are showing our troops that we respect and honor them.
The Eagle, our National Bird, majestic, noble and a symbol of strength and beauty. The Great Seal of our country is born on the breast of the Eagle without any other supporters, to denote that the United States ought to rely on their own virtue. In Isaiah 40:31 we read "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Our troops are just as majestic, noble, strong and beautiful in spirit because they love us enough to serve and to sacrifice. May they mount up with wings as eagles and be able to stay strong and not faint.
Hang a yellow ribbon on your tree or on your door. Wear a yellow ribbon on your heart. Through time the yellow ribbon has shown loyalty to family, friends and loved ones who are welcome home, after they have been away for a long time under difficult circumstances. Our troops are gone for long periods of time now and are under very difficult circumstances. Let us keep yellow ribbons hanging to welcome all that come home and await other's homecoming.
We have had a canlde lit in our window since September 11, 2001. In Colonial days a candle in the window was to show warmth and security of the family hearth and signaled loyalty to family members who were not present in the home. A lit candle in the window shows a commitment to the vision of reason and hope. Keep a candle lit for our troops to return to the security of their family hearth, to show the way home for them through our vision of reason and hope.
In closing I would like to share with you my all time favorite piece of music. I don't have anyone to play it for me but I will share the words with you at this time. When ever I hear the music to these words, the music alone is a 'prayer in my heart' and when I add the words to the music it is another 'prayer in my heart'. "Day is done, Gone the Sun. From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky. All is well, safely rest, God is nigh." Yes, taps is my all time favorite piece of music. It has a reverence about it, a reverence that all troops deserve. Keep a prayer in your heart for all our troops that they can safely rest each day in their difficult times, that they can return home to the lit candles, yellow ribbons, the Eagle flying, the American flag waving and to their blue star banner that is proudly displayed in their loved one's window. But if they are not allowed to come home alive, pray for them with thanksgiving and with reverence and thank God that they can safely rest with Him.
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