We must treat the Stars and Stripes as the physical representation of all America holds dear. The fabric of three colors -- red, white and blue -- beautifully sewn in a pattern rich in national historic meaning, is the symbol of a free people and a free nation. That incredible flag which was still standing during the War of 1812, while Francis Scott Key was held a helpless prisoner on a British vessel during the attack at Fort McHenry, is the flag I hold most dear. That same flag, given 37 more stars, is the flag of my home.
We must treat the United States flag as the symbol of peace and power she truly is. Americans must look to that beautiful, incredible and majestic piece of art as the sacred emblem of “the Republic for which it stands.”
I have seen the flag -- my flag -- flown high over the U.S. Capitol, the White House, and U.S. embassies and consulates in foreign lands. I have seen the fabric and material honored, presented and saluted by men and women in military uniform. I have witnessed men literally weep while looking to her and the free nation she represents. I have wept myself and have received chills over my entire frame while saluting and listening to our national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner. I have silently watched as our flag has been draped over the coffins of American countrymen who have given the ultimate sacrifice in defense of all she stands for -- foremost being freedom, liberty and equality.
May the blood of our forefathers, who created and erected the blessings we now enjoy because of their actions, and because of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, be revered, respected and honored forever. May the faithful and courageous military men who hoisted the flag of our nation from Fort McHenry to Iwo Jima and beyond, be remembered for sacrificing for our great nation, represented foremost by our greatest symbol of freedom, the American flag. May the war dead who die today and tomorrow be allowed an honorable burial without protesters who, in essence, are certainly disrespecting my flag, my nation, and my brothers and sisters in arms.
I pray that our flag -- my flag and your flag -- will be the banner of freedom it truly represents, the beacon of hope for all mankind, the light and glory of “one nation under God.” May this blessed symbol -- held high at ball parks, waved at parades, worn on every military uniform, and flown at half-mast during national catastrophes and loss of life -- become, and forever stay, the symbol of hope for a better way, the sacred evidence of self-government, the meaning of all things Americans cherish most, the incarnate Constitution of these United States of America.
May each of us gain anew the appreciation for Old Glory. May we each rally together, around and behind and beside this blessed symbol of freedom. May we all look high to see this extraordinary piece of fabric forever waving in the breeze and cherish all she stands for. May national patriotism shown to our flag be honored, respected, and sustained and enforced by law.
Finally, may all those who value freedom and all those who have stood with arms to defend her rich blood-red stripes, her deep-blue sky and pure-white stars and stripes, forever thank God for all she stands for. May this people -- the American people -- remember what Abraham Lincoln once so eloquently encouraged in his Gettysburg Address every time we look upon the folded or unfurled flag. Let us “be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us ... that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”