May 27th, 2002

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A Grand Old Flag
By Steven H. McGarthwaite

Memorial Day is today, May 27, 2002 in the United States of America. Memorial Day has been ignored by too many, we have forgotten those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Often we do not observe the day as it should be; a day where we actively remember our ancestors, our family members, our loved ones, our neighbors, and our friends who have given the ultimate sacrifice:

  • By visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes.

  • By visiting memorial services in your community.

  • By flying the US Flag at half-staff until noon.

Last weekend, I retired the "Stars and Stripes" that has flown from my house continuously since September 11th at 9:00 AM (there is a light on my attached garage above the flag, so it has been full illuminated in the dark hours). But it was time to replace it after flying for over 8 months. My neighbor, Commander Mike Martin, of the White Bear Lake American Legion Post, will properly retire my flag at ceremonies June 14th (National Flag Day).

Just what does this "Star Spangled Banner" represent? To some it represents the unified 50 states. To others it represents "Freedom, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." To me it is the icon of the greatest document ever written by man, The Constitution of the United States of America. Without the Constitution, the United States would be adrift without direction or purpose. Laws could be made to strip us of our God given rights!

For 27 years, I served the Constitution of the United States while I served in the US Army. Just as every other soldier that has served in the military, I promised to Support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Until September 11th, 2001, few American really took time to consider what this means. On this Memorial Day consider what this National Holiday really represents, it means much more than an extra day off from work and a car race in Indianapolis.

I have noticed over the years that many fly the "Stars and Stripes" improperly. They seem to not know how to properly display and care for our nation's flag. Below is the definitive word on the display and care of "Old Glory."

~ Platoon Sergeant Steven H. McGarthwaite US Army Retired.

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