We see that you have javascript disabled. Please enable javascript and refresh the page to continue reading local news. If you feel you have received this message in error, please contact the customer support team at 1-833-248-7801.



Letter: Show your respect for the American flag

Lois Schaefer, state Americanism chairman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary Department of North Dakota, writes a column in recognition of Flag Day, June 14.

A person holds a letter with the text "letter to the editor" overlaid on the image.
We are part of The Trust Project.

Remember me? I have been known by many names; “The Red, White & Blue,” “The Stars & Stripes,” “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Old Glory.” Whatever they choose to call me, I am your flag, the flag of the United States of America.

There is something I would like to talk with you about. Something has been bothering me for a long time now. It is about you and me.

I remember how people used to line up on both sides of the street to watch the parade. I was leading the way, of course, proudly waving to each and every one of you standing there as I came down the street.

Your dad saw me coming and quickly removed his hat and placed it against his left shoulder, so his hand was over his heart. Do you remember him doing that? I do.

I remember you were standing there next to him, standing at attention like a little soldier. You didn’t have a hat, but you were saluting me with your little hand over your heart. Do you remember that? Do you remember your little sister and brother standing there next to you, doing exactly what they saw you do? They were proud to be like you. Do you remember that?


What changed? I didn’t; I’m still the same old flag that your parents and grandparents saluted when I came down the street. The flag your parents and grandparents carried into war. Since that time when you were just a boy, I have added a few stars and a lot more blood has been shed to protect your freedoms; but I’m still the same old flag.

Lately, I don’t feel the pride that I used to feel. I don’t feel the respect that you used to show me. I still see you standing there when I come down the street, with your hands in your pockets. You glance at me and look away. You don’t acknowledge me with a salute anymore. I see children there with you; running, shouting, laughing. They look happy, but they don’t seem to know who I am or what I stand for.

I saw a man next to you remove his hat when he saw me. When he looked around and saw no one else had removed their hat, he quickly put his on again as if he was embarrassed. Is it wrong or shameful to show patriotism today? Have you forgotten what I stand for and all the places where I have been? Argonne Forest, Peleliu, Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sanh, Baghdad, Kandahar, and many, many more.

Take a few minutes to look at the memorial rolls and read the names of those who sacrificed their lives for you to have freedom. Those patriotic Americans gave their lives to keep this country free. When you salute me, you are actually saluting every one of them! Every one of them that sacrificed their life for you!

Next time you see me, please stand quietly at attention, and place your hand over your heart. I will see you standing there and know that you remembered, and “I will salute you by waving back!”

Lois Schaefer is the state Americanism chairman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary Department of North Dakota.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

What to read next
Tom Kovach of Nevis, Minn., writes, "it is a myth to say that the Americas before the arrival of white people was some sort of Utopia. It wasn't. American Indians fought among each other. There were slaves taken in battle. There were lean times with lack of game or droughts and even human sacrifice. That doesn't excuse the actions of white people, but it certainly wasn't all happy, prosperous times for American natives."
Arland Jacobson of Moorhead responds to the letter "North Dakota and Israel have more in common that you might think" by Rep. Shannon Roers Jones.
Leo F.J. Wilking of Fargo writes, "Bette Grande’s recent column, “Its Democrats who are a threat to ‘our democracy,” begins with a definition of the word “projection.” She then writes that it is President Biden and his followers who are responsible for violence and threats of violence. This is in keeping with Grande’s “Alice in Wonderland” view of current affairs.
Henry Holtgard of Fargo writes, "They claim the house is a Frank Lloyd Wright house but it was but it was actually designed by his granddaughter. Frank Lloyd Wright actually turned it down. Just because the house is on a historical registry means nothing when it's not real. Its was put on the registry to stop the buyout."