The American Dream is not dead; nor does it sleep. It carries on in the hearts of every American man, woman and child from their first breath to their last. The dream to live in freedom and dignity. Tonight, in the Presidential address to the nation, President Obama made the poignant statement: "America must always stand on the side of freedom and human dignity." That’s a pretty hefty load to bear. Thankfully, we have each other to assist in the effort.
As I was listening to the President’s speech a memory came to mind that I haven’t thought of in several years. The setting was the annual Memorial Day parade in my hometown. My Grandfather, a WWII Veteran, had gotten on his years and the injuries he had sustained during the war had come back to haunt him with a vengeance. He had difficulty walking any distances of length and thus had to concede his position as the bearer of the flag of the United States — to me. I was stunned when the call came to carry THE flag. The flag that stood for so much and meant everything near and dear to the hearts and minds of the people of the United States. I felt unworthy of the task. I had never taken up arms in defense of our country as had my Grandfather. I didn’t sacrifice life and limb for those left behind. I was barely over eighteen years old. I was a girl – not even required to register with the Selective Service. The only thing I had ever done was participate in Girls State, maintained a membership in the Junior Legion Auxillary and annually sold poppies in the Auxillary fundraiser. This hardly qualified me for job. But, there I was with the weight of an entire country waiting to be carried in memory of those who had and did and still do today.
My Grandfather helped me put on the strap that held the flag and showed me the proper way to carry it — Eagle flying forward and never let it touch the ground. He placed my hands in proper position and then took his place next to my Grandmother and mother on the street. I was with my two Great Aunts who also served in WWII and were carrying their own flags.
The drum began to beat as we started to march down the street. My eyes kept dutiful watch over the Eagle that its head never sway to one side or the other. My arms strained to bear the weight of the flag up so as not to let it touch the ground. For those younger people who may not be aware – when the U.S. Flag touches the ground it is symbolic of: The Nation has Fallen. I was so proud that I had the opportunity to carry the flag; the hopes and dreams of all the people of our nation – under that one flag.
Today, we are being called the same as I was that day. It doesn’t matter what one has or has not done. We all have a duty and a responsibility to answer the call when it comes. Today, we are being called to carry the dream of the nation: To assist in the rebuilding of our economy; To assist in the rebuilding of our nation; To afford all residents of our nation with same freedoms and dignities regardless of age, race, religion, national origin, creed or familial status etc. It is our duty and responsibility to ensure that the freedoms we enjoy stand as strong today as they did when we first declared independence. It is our duty and responsibility to ensure that the freedoms we enjoy today stand even stronger tomorrow for our children.
We can no longer afford to live as a nation divided by political partisanship. We need to practice the tried and true compromise approach to our nations problems. We need to put some chairs in the aisles and bridge the gap. If you are a politician, or want to be one, know that you have been put on notice by the American people. We are watching with a fervrent diligence unprecedented in our memory of history. We are tired of the games and the lies and the backroom deals at our expense. We demand that you work together for the betterment of all. Private interests and business deals can no longer take precedence over the elderly and the young; the low and middle class; the poor, hungery and huddled masses. Greed will no longer be an acceptable excuse for sacrificing the very men and women who protect your families as well as the rest of the nation. Politicians – YOU have the same duty and responsibilities as each citizen of this country to carry the dream. Each of you from the Mayor’s offices to the Oval Office.
All residents of the United States must muster the strength to bear up the flag of our nation and never let it be known that "The Nation has Fallen". Can you? Can YOU carry the dream of our nation?