I never cry. Or hardly ever. Just ask my wife. But tonight...at the local football game...my first and probably only one for the year due to Covid restrictions...wearing my mask...standing next to my daughter...watching the flag raised as we sang the national anthem. Tonight I cried.
I cried because of what that flag means. I cried because of what it represents. I cried because this year is so burdensome and tiring and people are all sorts of overwhelmed and at the end of themselves. But there I stood. With my hand over my heart and familiar words mumbled through mask. Until the emotion was more powerful than my voice and I just watched. And cried.
That flag doesn't mean a political party. It doesn't mean a color. Or a creed. Or a religion. It is the bi-product of people who have tried for 250 years to get it right. And we've failed sometimes. We've failed miserably. Yet here we are these couple of centuries later...still trying. And some people kneel during the anthem as a a sign they are broken. And some people carry signs on street corners. And some people run for political office. And others feed the hungry and help the hurting.
But what we should all be pursuing is the ideal behind that flag: that human value is inherently given only by our Creator. And, therefore, it is not the job of any man or woman, no matter their position, title, or power to demean or devalue another. We've not always gotten this right as a country. Our history is scattered with examples of our failure. We stand today on the grounds of horrid mistakes. But also of heroic sacrifice. Our worse points and our best define who we have become.
And some day, my friends, some day this election and this pandemic and this year will be over. And on that day we will have to look around at each other. Who will we see? Enemies or brothers? What will we feel? Hate or compassion? The one thing that flag is always supposed to have represented was our commonality as humans. It is what unites. Not divides.
And this country represented by that flag is the greatest in the whole of human history. But it will not stay so if we cannot see each other as valuable. No political party is the answer. No news network can provide the solution. Our choice to love is the answer...to do what is best for my neighbor regardless of whether it is best for me.
So, whether you are inclined to stand in pride or kneel in sorrow, today I joined my heart with yours. I stood and cried. I want America to live up to her ideals. To try again. Though we've fallen so hard.
For the land of the free...and the home of the brave.