There are often times when people make a comment and it rubs you the wrong way. It strikes a nerve. It takes the breath right out of you.
It doesn't happen to me very often. I tend to be a relatively easy-going person. It usually takes a lot for someone's comments to really bother me. I've learned that somethings are just better left alone. It is better to ignore them than to egg the person on.
But this was not the case this weekend.
This weekend, as my soldier and I were sitting and talking, the subject of how there are many crazy laws and regulations came up. We both nonchalantly nodded in agreement and went on with the conversation. But one person didn't let it go. They wanted their opinion to be known about where they stood on how there are too many crazy laws.
Their argument went as this: This country was built on the idea that we should be allowed to do anything we want. Take the flag for example. If people want to burn it, they should be able to. What's the point of freedom of speech if we can't express it however we want?
I was stunned. Did I just hear that correctly? "I don't think it is right for the flag to be burned," I said.
Yeah, they replied, but do you really think people should get in trouble? Do you really think people should go to jail for that?
When did people become so slack about things? That is the flag that you are talking about. The American flag. The flag that represents our country. The flag that represents us. The flag that represents you. The flag is a symbol for all of the hardships this nation has faced and has come out of.
The flag is not just a piece of cloth. It is a statement. It defines us. It gives us hope. It gives us strength. It reminds us to keep going strong.
The love of my life fights for what that flag represents. He puts his life on the line so that flag can be flown proudly. He has dedicated so much time and effort to preserve everything that flag promises. And you just want to burn it?
Burning it is speaking out against this nation. It is being ungrateful and defiant. It is defeating all that it represents. All the struggles and triumphs we each face daily. Burning it is like saying it is not important-- that it means nothing to you. How can someone think this is okay?
It broke my heart to hear them say this. Not only to me, but to my soldier. He didn't need to hear that. All he should hear is love and respect from that person for giving them the freedom to speak out like that. I was appalled. I still am appalled. And the most terrifying and disheartening thing about it all? I interact with this person nearly daily. They know the situation we are in. They know about how I sit up at night worried about my soldier. Worried about if he will be okay. Worried that he may not make it home. And yet they still defended their statement.
I love my country. I love that flag and everything it represents. I love my soldier with all I have. I will defend all three of these until the day that I die. Will anyone join me?