why i honor the american flag essay


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In these modern times, the complexity of human relations and the divisiveness of the political sphere, can make the show of patriotism a difficult proposition. Many have argued that the United States is in a time of upheaval and that the future is uncertain for the direction of the country. Numerous Americans have expressed rampant dissatisfaction with the state of the union, given the fact that movements such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo have shined a light on the injustices and corruption that continue to thrive in America. When injustice is illuminated, it can create a sense of disgust and confusion about the nation to which we pledge allegiance. Given that the current president sparks so much heated and contentious debate, some Americans have gone on the record saying that they do not wish to honor the American flag anymore. I disagree with such a myopic notion. I honor the American flag regardless of the political climate, regardless of who is president and regardless of the state of the nation. This essay will explore why I honor the American flag, because quite simply, the American flag stands for something that is greater and more important than me and which transcends the current political climate.


One of the most prominent reasons that I revere the American flag is because it represents the courage and commitment our ancestors had to display in order to fight for their freedom from the British. Modern-day Americans have the luxury of forgetting that there was a time when the British owned our nation as colonies, and we were considered their property. It’s important to bear in mind that the years before the revolutionary war had been marked with unrest, violence and tensions between America and Britain. The war lasted seven long years with a final victory for the American army at Yorktown, Virginia, which represented an end of friction between the British empire and the colonies. This was an enormously long struggle and one which required much perseverance on behalf of the colonists. It was not merely the dedication to a goal: it was a war, littered with battles and bloodshed. “Throughout the course of the war, an estimated 6,800 Americans were killed in action, 6,100 wounded, and upwards of 20,000 were taken prisoner.


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Another reason that I honor the American flag is a result of the fact that the red stripes remind me of the bloodied and foul history that this nation was founded upon. Aside from the ugliness of all the spilled blood that was forced to be shed as a result of the Revolutionary War, there was also four hundred years of slavery and the evils of segregation that our nation had to overcome. When it comes to something as devastating as slavery, it can be too easy to forget how brutal and dehumanizing it was, as we are surrounded by the comforts of this modern era. Examining the facts of slavery, one can begin to imagine its crippling horrors: “Within several decades of being brought to the American colonies, Africans were stripped of human rights and enslaved as chattel, an enslavement that lasted more than two centuries. Slave owners whipped slaves who displeased them. Clergy preached that slavery was the will of God. Scientists ‘proved’ that blacks were less evolved-a subspecies of the human race” (Ferris.edu). Once the cotton gin was invented, that solidified the necessity of slavery as a means of creating a foundation for the South’s economy. The fact that we could overcome something as awful and as critical to our economy as slavery, indicates that there is nothing this nation can’t overcome.


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In summary, I honor the American flag as a symbol of the best things that this nation has done and the worst. The best things represent the bravery and heart that were continually put in jeopardy for something loftier: freedom from British rule. The monstrosities committed during the slave trade and subsequent periods are part of our history. Acknowledging them as a form of hideousness we overcame shows we can triumph over anything. The nation that is willing to acknowledge its dark past is one that has a stronger possibility for a brighter future. Essentially, as a nation, we’ve come so far, and while we will perhaps never be perfect, the strides we made and the injustices that we’ve conquered all indicate that we can continue to transform this country into a farer and more just place.




Battefields.org. (2018, July 17). American Revolution ? FAQs. Retrieved from https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/american-revolution-faqs


Ferris.edu. (n.d.). Slavery in America – Timeline – Jim Crow Museum – Ferris State University. Retrieved from https://ferris.edu/HTMLS/news/jimcrow/timeline/slavery.htm