That I see red, white, and blue everywhere this week reminds me of the first full-sized American flag that I ever owned. I was a Cub Scout in 1958—Pack 56, Den 2, and received my flag as a birthday gift. It contained 48 stars and came as a kit with a beautiful hardwood staff, a solid brass display bracket, and a booklet explaining the protocols of caring for the flag and on which national holidays displaying the flag was appropriate. My father installed the bracket onto a support pillar of our front porch and I was responsible for unfurling and displaying it on the appropriate dates. Off time, it lived in corner behind our front door but I often displayed it just so I could watch it in the breeze and sneak in a scout salute.
A few years later, as a Boy Scout, I had the privilege of marching in a Memorial Day parade as part of our troop’s color guard, bearing our flag. It had 50 stars then, and my pride in it, my country, and in my new president would never be greater. It seemed to me that there wasn’t as much divisiveness then. People trusted elected officials and believed in their commitment to our town. At election time, the adults would argue about who was better, but there was no obscene name-calling (OK, maybe a little!); no belligerent letters to the editor appeared in the Daily Record; and no one who hoped to attain public office ever publicly used profane insults in describing an opponents. So, for this July 4, it would be my wish to see that type of civility again. I witnessed that it as a poll worker during the primaries and know it’s possible.