Letter to the editor: Connected to the world
I very much enjoyed your recent article entitled “Grasshopper Soup: Great things can happen while daydreaming” (Sierra Sun, March 18).
As I read the article by Mr. Bob Sweigert, my thoughts turned back to a recent cross county flight I took across the vast expanse of our nation. As I sat peering out the window, I was struck by the incredible landscape that stretched out to the distant horizon. Stark indigo melted into a soft blue gray where sky met land.
Mottled browns and greens of seemingly infinite shapes and shades meandered randomly until met by the straight lines of industry. Gossamer wisps of ethereal vapor added a surreal quality to this resplendent confluence. It struck me as I took in this glorious spectacle that our county was indeed majestic.
But upon further reflection I came to realize that this dazzling panorama could just as well been seen over the skies of China, Iran or even North Korea. These countries also have much or all of what Mr. Sweigert sees in America: ocean cliffs, desert sands, dense forests and treeless expanses of grass in addition to gullies, wind, rain and thunderstorms.
And yes, even fields of corn. It is our planet that is majestic, not just the United States. I believe the reason why, like Mr. Sweigert, many of us feel the flag symbolizes our land is that our land is, in our collective subconscious, the physical embodiment of our remarkable society and government.
And while I fault no one for what they feel the flag symbolizes, for me it represents what I hope we never take for granted: that each citizen of these United States has certain unalienable rights that guarantee the opportunity to bask in the pleasures that unfettered liberty affords. These rights did not come without arduous struggle and sacrifice by those who came before us. Indeed, the men and women who struggled in defense of these rights did so both in death and in lives well lived.
So when I look up and see Old Glory fluttering above me, I see something to be honored and respected, something much more than a colorful patchwork of cloth.
I am glad that we all have the right to fly the flag unlit at night, but mine shall only fly as a symbol of freedom and sacrifice in the bright light of day or as a gleaming beacon of hope in the darkness of night (flag protocol does allow night display as long as it is brightly lit).