The Right to Defend
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I’d like to introduce myself.  Yes, I’m the American flag, but I’m not
one that most of you have ever seen so I should tell you more about
myself.  The first time I was held aloft and people pledged their
allegiance to me we were engaged in what has come to be called the
Spanish-American War and William McKinley was our president
If you can count my stars you will see that in my future I would see 18
more presidents and five more states added to this great nation.  I
would also see five more major wars where more than 42 million
soldiers would serve and those who salute and honor me would give
their lives that I might remain the worlds’ symbol of strength, freedom
and bravery.  I would stand beside the caskets of 896,498 men and
women who died during these wars in service to me – 652,554 of them
died in battle to ensure those who came after them might enjoy the
freedoms and liberties first bought with the blood of our fathers of
I have been saluted by almost one and a half million soldiers who were
wounded in battle.  Some had to salute sitting as they had no legs, some
in their heart as they had no hands and arms, some by memory as they
had no eyes and some had to salute only in their minds as they could not
move at all.  Each had given what was required to do their part in
keeping me free, and the country I represent, the envy of all the world.  
They died and suffered, not for themselves, but for their children and
their grandchildren and for all those who would benefit from their
sacrifice in the future.  I have every reason to fly proud.  I have been
honored by those who thought only of others and were willing to lose all
to keep liberty strong, for me.  
It has been many, many years since I was unfurled and allowed to fly
free and proud in the wind.  I am a little fragile and a bit stiff but I am
no less proud.
Yesterday, 9-11-01, my country was attacked once again.  Today I was
unrolled and held high in honor of those who died in the attack, and
also, for all those who will now die defending me.  I wish there were
another way, but alas, there will always be those willing to kill in an
effort to take away the liberties of my country so there must also be
those willing to die to keep them, or I will fall.
In many countries, and sometimes in my own, I have been burned in the
streets and my ashes trampled and kicked about.  I have been stomped
in the mud and drug behind vehicles by those who hated me.  No matter
how I have been treated by my enemies I will always fly proud and
strong for all those who have looked death in the face and fought to the
end that I might remain the symbol for the land of the free and the
home of the brave.
Yes, I am over 100 years old.  I have seen the worst of mankind and
also the best.  I represent the best and I will fly again to honor those
who fight for me.

May God bless us once again, America.
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