Honor and Memory Worthy of More Than Brief Notice

Iwo JimaUp, down, up, down recently our national flag has been sliding half way up and down flag poles like never before. What was once a rare occurrence and distinguished honor has more recently become more a symbol of political correctness and response to media coverage.
Make no mistake many deaths are tragic, many men and women have gone to their graves far too early, often times in service to their country. Today, far too often, we have death as a media event immediately sent far and wide on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.
Public response is fast, often a knee jerk reaction, something must be done, some show of reaction to the event, ribbons, flowers, flags and challenges to one another. All of which are more about those performing the action than about any real honor or remembrance of the deceased.
We as a nation have seen many tragedies, many fallen national figures of men and women that truly had an impact on our nation. Many deserving of a national honor and recognition such as lowering the American flag. At no time in the last 70 years have we seen our national flag lowered more often for more people than in recent years.
Are we lowering the threshold and hence the honor by reacting so often to death by lowering our nation’s flag? I think back to World War Two, I think of the battle for Iwo Jima, I think of the thousands killed in action, but I am reminded of the horror with the image of the American flag being raised over Mt. Suribachi. In just four days thousands of our sons had been killed and wounded, and yet they raised the flag.
The men had fought a brutal battle, yet they raised the flag. It could have been at half-staff, they could have “honored” the fallen by lowering the flag. They chose to raise it full staff high on the hill called Mt. Suribachi. Joe Rosenthal preserved that event on film, and today we have monuments recalling the event and honoring the sacrifice of those that served their nation.
Were the Marines wrong that day, were the Marines thoughtless of their fallen brothers? No they were proud of their nation, they were proud of the accomplishments of their mission. It was not about lowering a flag, it was about raising the flag in the face of our enemies. It was more about telling the world that America would prevail, the flag was flown as a symbol of our nation. There was no political correctness, no emphasis on individualism, it was about our Nation and the pride in America.
Today we think about the five minutes of fame, the instant answer, sometimes our reactions are really rather shallow in the face of history. The greatest generation didn’t lower the flag, but they honored their fallen. When was the last time you visited the Iwo Jima Memorial or memorials in your local park.
The next generation will be better served with a trip to remember the fallen with a tour of monuments than a brief lowering of a flag. Remembering and honoring is a lesson that should be passed forward to every generation, it is a lesson paid for with the blood of our sons and daughters.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Honor and Memory Worthy of More Than Brief Notice

  1. Great food for thought here. I am feeling ignorant on the subject of the criteria when the flag should be raised or lowered. Off to Wikipedia.

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