I remember the Fourth of July in a small Midwestern town. Flags lined both sides of the two block along Main Street. Their wooden staffs fitted into metal sockets that were cast in the concrete, near the edges of the sidewalks. And Old Glory flew proudly and colorfully in the breeze.
If rain threatened, the local businessmen watched the sky. As the first raindrops hit the sidewalk, they raced out to retrieve the precious banners before they got wet. And heaven help any clumsy lout who allowed the Colors to even touch the pavement.
It seems that no one tossed flags on the ground and trampled all over them back then. No one urinated on flags … or burned them. Perhaps people were well-enough educated and intelligent enough then to express themselves and their beliefs and ideas in words, spoken and/or written. Or maybe they realized that it would just not be worth the effort and the pain involved in attempting to do otherwise.
Today’s world, with all of its guaranteed freedoms, only makes my childhood memories all the more precious. Lord knows, I have never been accused of being a “flag waver,” but sometimes … enough is enough.
From the East Coast to Hawaii
I’ve seen beauty everywhere
And way up high above all of those lands and seas
There is a proud and mighty banner
That’s been there two hundred years.
I thrill to see that flag a-flying in the breeze.
At times, I am sad and lonely
And I can’t even find a smile,
And just can’t quite seem to see the woods for trees.
There’s just one thing that lifts my spirits
And makes my blessings count –
The sight of that old flag a-flying in the breeze.
This great country is my homeland.
It’s here that I was born and bred;
Here I can do just almost anything I please,
And I never have to worry,
I know that freedom is still mine –
I still can see that flag a-flying in the breeze.
Sometimes I get feeling grateful,
And then I thank the Lord above,
And when I pray, I get right down there on my knees.
Then I thank Him for His kindness,
For I have been truly blessed,
I have seen that flag a-flying in the breeze.
I’ve seen that flag a-flying in the breeze!
Emil Schmit is the 88 year old father of Pam Buttikofer, one of the owners of Imperfect Women. Emil continues to write although age and health issues have slowed him down a bit. He is a is a self-trained poet, free-lance writer, public speaker, and journalist. His weekly column, “Rhyme and Reason,” appeared for over twenty years in the Dubuque, Iowa daily newspaper, the Telegraph Herald. You can read more of Emil’s Bio here. The typewriter pictured on the bio page is one that he sat at for over 50 years creating many of his “rhymes and reasons.”