What Are the Principles We Will Fight For?

Flag-Raising1.4The sun was just rising as I headed down for my morning walk. I had to drop off a letter at the post office and as I was leaving I noticed an older gentleman raising the flag. I stopped and watched him for a while as it rose higher and higher into a bright blue morning sky. I felt my heart expand, tears stinging my eyes, as I drank in the sight. When he was done I had to walk over to him and thank him for doing that, for it was beautiful to behold.

In the past I have sometimes considered patriotism lightly.  But as I watched that flag unfurl in the morning light I felt something shift. I contemplated the words that are the foundation of our democracy and I felt a settling in my soul, a reaffirmation to these principles in a new and deeper way.  They are words that have the power to stir our hearts and unite us in a common cause. They are principles that make me feel connected and honorable and true.  They are a promise I make to my daughter, to my community, to my country.  They are principles I vow to protect:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (1776)

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (1787)

 “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” (original version 1892)

 “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” (1886)

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