When I was a kid, growing up in Socialist Romania, we were overly bombarded with the image of our flag. The flag was a key piece of the propaganda; they were forcing us to love the socialist emblem on the flag – and I grew up hating it. The severe life conditions, the starvation, the cold, the misery, the forced labor, the long lines for food, the lack of sanitation and the fear that were associated with that flag made us all hate the flag.
In reality, the flag was indeed the symbol of the leading party, not the symbol of the people. Romania was SO socialist that even the Russians were thinking that our system is overly-abusive; all that political abuse was symbolized by the flag of the Socialist Republic of Romania. We hated the socialist emblem so much, first thing we did during the revolution was to cut out the emblem and waved the cut-out flag.
When the system fell, in late December 1989, you, Dear America, sent us medical assistance and clothing and food. I remember that our churches and civic centers were filled with clothing, food, medical aid, treats, sweets, shoes, purses, even scuba diving suits and baby car chairs! For goodness sake, we didn’t even have cars back then and we needed some time to figure out what the scuba diving suits were for!! – But thank you for celebrating our independence with us, America! Today, I am celebrating your Independence Day with you, and I am so happy and grateful to God that you, Dear America, exist!
When we opened up the aid boxes and we looked inside, I was shocked to see your flag printed, painted and stamped on… everything! Even the pencils, the pencil erasers, the notebooks, the tennis shoes, the sweat pants, the candy wraps – EVERYTHING had the your flag printed, embroidered or stamped on. I was so surprised, because in my limited experience, the only reason why a nation would have their flag printed on everything is because the love for their flag was beaten into them – just like it was beaten into us. Then my parents told me that actually, your people *love* their flag and they print it on everything because they’re proud of it. And I didn’t understand why or how a nation can love their flag, by their own choice. Clearly, your flag meant to you, Dear America, something radically different to what our flag meant to me…
When I moved to the US as an adult five years ago, at 32, I imagined I will be unable to find a pair of flagless jeans or a flagless shirt. But sadly, the America I immigrated to, the post-Obama America, had lost the sanctity of the flag – and flag printed items are rare. The flag is a hot topic now (for some odd reason) – and even though I never knew you while you were the conservative, God fearing, dream chasing America that your old folk remember you to be, I miss your flag.
It took me a three days journey into a remote area in the heart of traditional America to understand the sanctity of the flag and what the flag used to mean to American people. It took me to be gifted a beautiful, large scale embroidered flag and to be shown the solemn act of folding the flag, to understand that sometimes, people carry their flag in their heart because they love their country, not because it was beaten into them. Some people are proud of the choices their country makes, and they can hold their head up high because they do live beautiful lives, in which everyone is respected. I understood, Dear America, that your flag makes your people feel like they belong to a community united by common goals, aspirations and dreams. We never had that in socialism. I don’t know what it means to live in a culture where the flag means not only independence, but abundant independence – and I am sorry I missed out on experiencing you like that, Dear America.
I am so sorry I missed out on your pre-Obama life, Dear America. I wish I would see the flag hanging at people’s gates, on their trucks, on their shirts, like before. I wish people would do barn dances and come together under God to break bread and eat from the game they hunt and the homemade cornbread. I wish I would have experienced you when people were settling in, when they won their independence and when they would die before allowing their flag and their mean beef stake to be mocked. I am now purchasing shirts and dresses with the flag, and I wear them with joy; the feeling of belonging to your flag and your flag belonging to me is not a matter of blood in my case, but it’s a matter of ethics, convictions and ideals that I believe in and that you, Dear Constitutional America, believe in.
Now that I have been dunked in your genuine and healthy American spirit (- not in the grotesque Hollywoodyan pop culture that is presented to the world as the new American standard -) I can say: I miss you, Dear America. I miss the America that you were, and that you still are – even though you don’t know that you are. I miss the bits of your history that I never experienced, when you were united and beautiful. I wish I would have known you back when you inspired folks to have value, integrity and steadfastness.
America, you once were, indeed, great. And America, regardless how you are being portrayed today by the progressive Marxists who try to seduce you and devour your spirit, you are still great. Just remember who you are; remember your identity; remember your past. Remember your God. Remember your honor. Remember your ideals. Remember your goals. Remember your identity. Dress up in your flag again, and wear it with pride, because you, of all nations, can wear your flag with your head held high, without fear or shame or guilt. And anyone who says otherwise never really loved you anyways, so it’s not like loosing them it’s really a loss.
America, you are great, and you are a nation under God – and a nation with a powerful flag. Let your kids be raised in the shadow of your flag and teach them what the flag symbolizes and why the flag is sacred to you.
Today, enjoy your Independence Day, America, and wave your flag so the entire world may see that America is not dead!