As a military wife and daughter, I’ve been raised to be a proud citizen of the United States. I was born on Clark AFB, grew up on military bases and married a man that grew up on military bases–but our kids are not.
My husband finished his tour as a submariner before our kids were born. (I had this thing against being one of the woman at the pier at the end of each patrol with the swollen belly or the new baby waiting to meet daddy for the first time. Being a Navy wife is hard. I felt abject terror at the thought of being a new mother alone.) The Hubs has spent more time away working in the last few years than he did when he was active duty and I still prefer it over the relentless patrol/duty cycle of a submariner. When he isn’t home now a days, we can facetime or text him anytime we want. Rarely does a day go by that we don’t see his face. When he was on a submarine, it was months of no word, not knowing when he would be home, and only infrequent heavily edited emails home. Still, he did his duty and still does–albeit in a civilian capacity working with the military.
Because we chose not to reenlist, our children are not growing up in the relative shelter of a guarded military installation. It’s a good thing and a bad thing. I remember my childhood roaming the base fondly. Perceived freedom was glorious.
Another aspect of growing up in the military that I recently realized my children were missing is the culture of patriotism. Seeing the flag respectfully folded at the end of the day and raised in the morning by men and women in uniform was a part of the daily backdrop on a base. I learned to properly fold a flag in elementary school, aptly named Airbase Elementary, when I was a safety patrol. I learned that the flag should never be dropped and should be properly disposed of when it became damaged.
Our flag is a symbol of our country’s pride and I wonder if today’s kids are taught that as I was.
I’ve heard about the controversy surrounding the daily pledge of allegiance in schools. “To the republic for which it stands…” Our flag stands for our republic and thus should be regarded with the utmost respect.
Watching my children reach up and try to tug on our flag while ride beneath it on their bikes, I realize that they don’t understand of that symbol yet. As a child standing beneath a wildly flapping flag, I know the temptation is great to jump up and smack it. I can’t even walk beneath a low hanging branch without grabbing at it. But the flag is not a branch or a toy.
Here in Florida we have frequent summer thunderstorms. The elements had taken a toll on our flag. There were quite a few rips and tear. (I thought about posting a photo of it but decided that since I was ashamed at the state of the flag, posting it online would be an even more flagrant sign of disrespect. The picture below is a few months old.)
Regardless of one’s political affiliation, respect for the country we live in should be paramount. Like many other things in life, this is a lesson we learn from our parents.
Reading through my recent posts, it may seem like I didn’t do any Fourth of July crafts. I did, I just didn’t post them at the corner because they weren’t exactly kids crafts. Here is a roundup of the crafts we did this year to celebrate the birth of this great country of ours! For those of you new here, I moonlight at The Missing Niche.
1. Check out this easy red, white, and blue Fruit Pizza we devoured.
2. Spruce up your BBQ picnic table with this red, white, and blue caddy!
3. Of course we had to make a wreath for the front door…
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!!