Have you ever stopped to think about the red, white, and blue colors of the American Flag? Yesterday, as I stood by my friends and family watching fireworks explode all around us, I found a patriotism and pride welling up inside. The music was playing songs from 9/11 from the likes of Martina McBride, Toby Keith, Lee Greenwood, and Alan Jackson. Suddenly, “and bombs bursting in air” entered my thoughts.
What do the colors of the flag mean? I know I learned this as a young cub scout and boy scout. For some reason, I could recall the exact meaning which saddened my heart.
RED: hardiness and valor.
Do you remember a time in your life when hardiness and valor were taught or learned? Unless you’ve served in the military, you probably don’t. Why is that? Hardiness is the ability to endure difficult situations. It is linked to courage and the ability or capacity to endure hardships under unfavorable conditions.
When is the last time you looked in the mirror while facing difficult times and thought you will persist until your plight is complete? Probably, never? Why is it that we’ve become a culture of quick fixes, blaming others, and entitlement? What happened to standing tall in the face of adversity? What happened to our Christian heritage that says Christ suffered to set us an example?
What about Valor? Valor is boldness and determination when facing great danger. It is the stuff heroes are made of. It is courage and bravery all neatly bundled into a single package. Do you cower in fear or do you put your head down and move forward in the face of adversity because that’s what you’re made of?
Have you ever made an emotional decision to hold back from doing something you wanted to out of a fear of rejection or pre-determining and unfavorable outcome? This is not a word we use in modern language. It is still used in military talk, but normal civilians rarely define someone as a person of valor. What a great quality to possess and to teach our children.
WHITE: purity and innocence.
Purity is an interesting term. Purity is the condition or quality of freedom from anything that debases, contaminates or pollutes. As a culture, we have strayed from this basic tenant defined in Old Glory. We live in a culture of selfish ambition, beauty, greed, corruption, and negative social media rants about our adversaries. I’m confident that you are not of this nature, but would you consider your entertainment. The hate music that is protected under the 1st Amendment. Graphic violence on television and in our movies brings in billions of dollars year after year. The lust for sex and sexual imagery in our music and movies has grown out of control.
Innocence is simply the freedom from sin or moral wrong. I believe this quality left our American culture several decades ago. I recall a time when my parents disciplined me for my moral decline. They had expectations of how I behaved in public, how I dressed, how I spoke, and how I treated others. There was a time when children were expected to honor and respect authorities and their elders. Today, our children are simply “going through a phase” and will come out the other side magically understanding that we shouldn’t debase others for our own gain.
BLUE: The color of the Chief marking vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
Vigilance is about being watchful. This is our duty to be watchful. How is that working out so far? Would you say that you are vigilant in your life or do you cast your life to the wind? Would you say you carefully observe the ways of your life to protect your reputation? Check social media posts on this one. How many people that you know who claim Christianity are some of the most negative and abusive people on social media? This is an important virtue we must put on and watch closely how we show up in life.
And what is Perseverance? Defined by Dictionary.com, perseverance is the steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., and especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. This is a good definition. Have you ever wondered why nearly 70% of all students who start college do not graduate? It’s too hard. I don’t feel like it. I just need a little time off. Whatever your excuse, the very pre-requisite of perseverance is a little sweat. When things are easy, there is no need to persist. Quitting in the name of happiness has become the norm in our culture. But not with this group. I know you are the type who holds fast to a purpose and keeps going against the odds.
Justice is a fun one. What is Justice exactly? Is it vengeance or getting even when you feel like you’ve been wronged? My favorite definition of Justice is the moral principle determining just conduct. Our culture has become one of fairness doctrine rather than Justice. It is fair that everyone plays by the same rules, but it is unfair when someone can pay an attorney to “get off” while another person cannot afford the quality attorney. Too many people think it is unfair that one man earns a living with a higher wage than a man who has no training with a small wage. Both men can study and train to earn the same wage. In fact it has been proven time and time again that many a poor and homeless man has risen to become a multi-millionaire. When we stop crying about what is fair and start looking to what is just, we will find a new worldview and a new life of personal responsibility that can take you to new places.
Well, there you have it. Red, White, and Blue. These are the colors of our flag, and the real question is do we honor our flag and our God in how we live these colors? Do we honor the men and women who have sacrificed their very lives or the lives of someone they loves so we can enjoy the freedoms we share in our great country?
I would like to hear your thoughts and let’s start a dialogue on this topic.
Happy 4th of July and Independence Day!
God Bless You!