Recalling the solemn experience of honoring the flag

Judd Cowan

by Judd Cowan

We were out for a photo shoot this weekend, and we stopped by Saint Henry’s church (where I have been a parishioner for most of my life). I ended up doing some reminiscing while we were taking some pictures around the church property, and I thought I would share them with you.

I am an Eagle Scout, but during my days at Saint Henry’s School I was only a tenderfoot or second class scout (ranks for people who are not familiar with scouting). Being a Scout, I knew how to fold a flag and ended up on flag patrol. There were always three of us. Awkward, almost teenagers wearing ill-fitting khaki pants and white oxford shirts. Doing our best to model military precision, we’d start from the edge of the sidewalk and march in tandem to the flagpole. One of us lowered the flag, one caught the bars, and the other unhooked it and held the stars for folding. We’d walk Old Glory back to the office and put it into storage until the next morning.

I remember it as a solemn experience.

I never realized it at the time, but we children understood that tradition of honoring our flag twice a day in its most pure and beautiful sense. When we folded and carried the flag, it was without criticism or jingoism. We didn’t know much about the world, but we had recently witnessed 9/11. We understood that our nation’s ideologies were under attack. We fathomed that our flag was hated by evil men around the world. We saw it defamed, trampled, and burned in the news.

I don’t think that I could have appreciated our nation’s freedoms at the time, but I understood our place in the world simply by how other people, cultures, and nations reacted to our national symbol. We were children, but we went out in the cold, in the heat, and in the notorious Tennessee ice and did our best to honor Old Glory.

G. K. Chesterton once said “Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.” Our flag doesn’t stand for one group or ethnicity, like it would anywhere else in the world. Our flag stands for the ideas composed by our Founding Fathers; the ideas fought and died for by our citizens for over 200 years. When we honor our flag, we’re not just heralding a square of cotton. We’re celebrating over 200 hundred years of brave men and women who have dared to question mankind’s historical norm of tyranny and despotism. We’re celebrating this bizarre American experiment that, against all odds, has flourished and brought the world into the greatest age of prosperity ever known. I’m proud to say that I took part in the respectable tradition of honoring our flag.

Judd Cowan is the Republican candidate for State House seat district 50 and has a good chance to unseat Bo Mitchell. He needs financial contributions and volunteers. To visit his website, follow this link.

%d bloggers like this: