This passage was passed on to me by AMVETS, and I thought it was important to share it with others as Independence Day approaches.
"Some people call me Old Glory. Others call me the Star-Spangled Banner. Whatever they call me, I am your flag -- the flag of the United States of America. Something has been bothering me. I thought I might talk it over with you.
"I remember some time ago, people lined up on both sides of the street to watch the parade, and naturally I was there, proudly waving in the breeze. When your daddy saw me coming, he immediately removed his hat and placed it over his heart. Remember? And you -- I remember -- standing there straight as a soldier. You didn't have a hat, but you were giving the right salute. Remember your little sister? Not to be outdone, she was saluting the same as you, with her hand over her heart. Remember?
"What happened? I'm still the same old flag. Oh, I have added a few more stars since you were a boy, and a lot more blood has been shed since those parades of long ago. But I don't feel as proud as I used to. When I come down your street, you stand there with your hands in your pockets. I may get a small glance, but then you look away. I see the children running around and shouting. They don't seem to know who I am. I saw one man take off his hat and look around. He didn't see anybody else with his hat off, so he quickly put his back on.
"Is it a sin to be patriotic anymore? Have you forgotten what I stand for and where I've been? Anzio, Normandy, Omaha Beach, Guadalcanal, Korea and Vietnam. Take a look at the memorial honor roll sometime. Look at the names of those who never came back in order to keep this republic free. One nation under God. When you salute me, you are actually saluting them.
"Well, it won't be long until I'll be coming down your street again. So if you see me, stand straight, place your hat over your heart. I'll salute you by waving back, and I'll know that you remembered."
The author is unknown.