Flags fly in the breeze on May 26, 2021 at Glendale Sunrise Rotary’s “Field of Honor” display for Memorial Day, May 31, at the entrance to Forest Lawn-Glendale. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles daily News/SCNG)


“You’re a grand old flag, you’re a high-flying flag…” — George M. Cohan

Happy Birthday, sweetheart. You’re turning 244 on Monday — Flag Day — still as beautiful as ever. You haven’t aged a bit, and for all you’ve been through since 1777, that’s saying something.

How you feeling? Worried? Yeah, a lot of people are, but we’ll get through this great divide in the country, and when we do you’ll be front and center leading the parade, as always.

Naïve thinking? Maybe, but I’ve seen you in action. You’ve got more power to change things for the better than the president, Congress and Supreme Court rolled into one.

They have the Constitution, you have the nation’s heart. Democrat or Republican, we’ll follow you anywhere. No man or woman or political party has that much power.

You know I never had the chance to thank you for what you did after 9/11. Can you believe it’s going to be 20 years this September? Where’d all those years go?

I was driving into work on the freeway the morning after the attack — numb, still not believing it — when I decided to take side streets the rest of the way. I don’t know why, I never do. It took me awhile to figure it out. In the back of my mind, I was looking for you.

Turned out you weren’t hard to find. You were everywhere. On every house, every street I drove down. I’m telling you, it made me want to cry, it was so beautiful. What power you held.

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When we needed someone to express how we were all feeling after 9/11, it was you we turned to with our hearts. It was you people wanted to be their voice.

“Flying the flag right now is standing up together as a nation,” Daniel Ramirez told me over on Independence Avenue in Canoga Park that morning.

Flying the flag was showing she was proud to be an American, said Alene Barber, standing on the porch of her Woodland Hills home that morning, crying.

Flying the flag was saying the words she couldn’t find to express how she felt, said Deanie Anderson of West Hills, choking up.

Neighborhood after neighborhood, house after house, it was the same. People chose you to show their resolve and pride.

It was close to noon when I drove down Joe Aguilar’s street in Reseda. His was the only house without you flying in front. I was talking to a couple of his neighbors when he came walking over with you in his hands, ripped and discolored.

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Source:: Los Angeles Daily News


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