Our Flag
Off the Wall - June 26, 2009

Every so often stories are discovered that may have been laid back on a shelf or among collections of papers. Some will go overlooked. This, however, popped up in a very timely fashion in as much as the Fourth of July festivities are soon to take place.

It so happened a little boy was kicking a can down the sidewalk when a rather well-dressed fellow exited from the door of the local newspaper office. Looking up, knowing that the place was the Daily Times, the lad exclaimed, “Mister, Mister, can I ask you a question?” The suited individual slowed looking back finally stopping as he responded to the call of the youth. Inquisitive, he replied, “Hey there little guy. Is there something I can do for you?” The youngster quickly blurted out, “You do stories, don’t you? I bet you wrote one today, didn’t you? Can you tell me what you wrote about?”
Now, most reporters may brush kids off, and maybe tell them to read the paper if they want to know this information. But not in this case. Something inside the 27 year-old man told him to sit down with the lad and tell him what he had written that day.

What he was about to reveal was somewhat special. His story didn’t cover the events of the hometown ball team, an organizational meeting or a humorous incident. Quite the contrary. Instead, the subject dealt with something of material worth.

Positioning themselves on a bench just near the door, Dover Mitchell asked the fellow, “What’s your name and how old are you, young fella?” Enthusiastically the boy responded, “Danny, and I’m 11 years-old Thursday.” “Well, happy birthday, Danny,” Dover said, and commenced to tell the boy about his message he conveyed that day.

“Danny, do you see that flag that is waving high above the street on that silver pole?” he began. “That is what I talked about today as I sat writing at my desk. What you see is something more than cloth sewn with pretty colors on it. That is the flag of the United States of America, our country. Do you see the rows of stripes of red and white?” he continued. “The red is on the top and the bottom. Then the white and the red stripes are repeated throughout the pattern. Off to the left hand upper side is a blue rectangle with 50 small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in a certain way. They represent the 50 U.S. states, and the 13 stripes the original 13 colonies that became our first states in the Union.

So far so good, my friend,” he asked. The boy smiled a tad nodding affirmatively.

“Now Danny, those colors have many meanings,” he said. “The star is a symbol or sign of man’s desire to go to heaven, something he always wanted since he was born; the stripe stands for the ray of light coming from the sun. But there is plenty more to learn. Each of the colors means something. Red stands for strength, also the blood spilled while soldiers fought battling at war so our country could continue to be free, and the bravery men had to have while standing up against the enemy. White signifies purity, innocence and freedom. And blue, emphasizes the fact that each of us must continue to strive to meet our goals even though we may have difficulties. This color also stands for justice.

“Now, when you are in school, do you stand in class and say The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag?” Dover asked the youth. “Yeah…” Danny answered. “Do you know what all those words mean?” the journalist inquired. “Not really,” the lad whispered in a down-toned manner. “Let me make it clearer for you to understand,” Dover stated.

“I pledge allegiance,” I promise my loyalty as a citizen to my government, “to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic,” the group of people for whom we voted to be our representatives, “for which it stands, one nation,” our country, “under God, indivisible,” can’t be separated into parts,” with liberty and justice for all.”

“So Danny, this is what I wrote. May you and my readers always treasure our flag."

Article by:
Paul J. Volkmann
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