U.S. Flag Sustained POW
Dear Young American,
Envision your country's flag.
You salute it when you enter the classroom. It flies over your school, your parades, parks
and playgrounds. You honor it in church or synagogue.
Yes, you recognize the Stars
and Stripes. But is it saying something to you? Are you angered when you see it defiled or
ridiculed? Does your heart throb? Do your eyes glisten with tears when you behold it
unfurled in the breeze? Or is patriotism perhaps like religion?
I was once a young American, too, and no more or less patriotic than you. I pledged allegiance to the flag and sang "America" as best I could, until Adolph Hitler raised a heavy hand and smashed his fist into the heart of Europe, until Japan directed a savage attack on our shores.
I was launched into a wartime world I could never have imagined.
I became a soldier. My comrades and I followed our flag as
against a gray sky. We saw the colors ground into the sands
of Bataan, on the coral of Corregidor. I watched our flag until it was no longer there to
What my captors failed to realize is that although they shaved my head, starved my body, deprived my soul and denied me basic human rights, an American flag fluttered on in my heart. Pride in what the "Red, White, and Blue" stands for buoyed my spirit. God watched over me, my compatriots sustained me, and I survived.
Can you understand what a blessed, beautiful sight that flag was to me when I viewed it at last in San Francisco? Why that flag waves to me from sea to shining sea, beckoning me to my family? That flag cried out:
"Look, look! I'm flying still!
I always will!"
And now, will you do something for me? Take another look, a good hard look, at the flag!
County Star June 14th, 2007
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