Those willing to die for freedom

A Memorial Day email to a friend: As I sit in my office in Idaho and replay our disagreement, I look out my window over rooftops to snow-covered mountains that people have never heard of. Majestic evergreens fill the yards of the houses just as they cover the hills in a sea of never-ending green. Framed squarely in the middle of my view is a flagpole with “Old Glory” blowing in the wind in the yard of a fellow countryman.

Oh, those Stars and Stripes — the symbol that stands for freedom and represents the many men and women that have sacrificed to make this country great and keep us free. My father was one of the many (a World War II veteran). As children growing up, he had us stand and salute the flag during the national anthem even if it was on TV during a sporting event. He knew what it meant to be an American — he had watched his buddies die for us, and had risked his own life for our freedom. I understand now more than ever that our flag represents a way of life that is difficult for the rest of the world to understand.

Yes, I do get angry when I read about a foreign jet “buzzing” one of our Navy vessels. And the tears do come to my eyes when I watch a patriotic movie or I hear a moving rendition of “God Bless America.” I am proud to be an American, and I believe you are, too. We can both express our opinions, and that is what makes our country great. If you love our flag and what it stands for, you are my friend no matter which side of the political aisle you sit on. I am ready to carry our flag into battle if need be, and I believe you are, too. Millions of other Americans will be right beside us. We are No. 1 for a reason (always have been, always will be). This is a great land, and you, my brother, and I will keep it that way.

Richard H. Abrams


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