June 14

Reflection

On this Flag Day, in a country that is ideologically more divided than ever, let us remember our flag as a symbol of the many struggles to keep the American dream alive, a symbol of the reputation of this nation abroad, and  a symbol of the unifying founding principles for which it stands. Let us not just use the flag for a judgmental and shallow show of patriotism. Let us not become outraged at presumed disrespect for the flag or the anthem but sit quietly in the face of actions that dismantle the core principles for which they stand.

Our flag of red, white and blue is just cloth, but it reminds us of the principles we hold as Americans: freedom of speech, freedom to vote for our candidates of choice in free elections, freedom to worship in the faith of our choice, freedom from want and the right to equal opportunity, and freedom from fear of harm or persecution. All of these are being compromised today in overt ways. To use the flag or anthem as a test of patriotism and yet to undermine what they symbolize is arrogant hypocrisy.  It is a danger to the essence of this nation. Countless unique individuals, at great personal cost, have worked toward the goal of weaving our country into “one nation under God with liberty and justice for all.”  It is up to us now to have the clear minded honesty and the outspoken courage and will to preserve these values.
Clara Santoro, CSJ

Prayer

God guide and bless the people of the United States of America.

Action

Try to look objectively at what is being said and done in the American political scene of the present time. What is true to our stated principles? What demeans our values and integrity as a nation? What is destroying the systems on which our democracy is based? Where do you stand? What can you do? Are you willing? Are you complicit?

Suggested Reading

A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to “dream” of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton.
Pope Francis, Address to the US Congress

To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.
Pope Francis, Address to the US Congress

This flag, which we honor and under which we serve, is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as a nation. It has no other character than that which we give it from generation to generation .Though silent, it speaks to us — speaks to us of the past, of the men and women who went before us, and of the records they wrote upon it.
President Woodrow Wilson

America is much more than a geographical fact.  It is a political and moral fact – the first community in which men set out in principle to institutionalize freedom, responsible government, and human equality.
Adlai Stevenson

This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women; and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God.
Franklin Roosevelt

This, then, is the state of the union free and restless, growing and full of hope.
So it was in the beginning. So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith.
Lyndon B. Johnson

This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.
Theodore Roosevelt

We need a new spirit of community, a sense that we are all in this together, or the American Dream will continue to wither. Our destiny is bound up with the destiny of every other American.
Bill Clinton

When we honor our flag we honor what we stand for as a Nation – freedom, equality, justice, and hope.
Ronald Reagan.

The strongest democracies flourish from frequent and lively debate, but they endure when people of every background and belief find a way to set aside smaller differences in service of a greater purpose.
Barack Obama

Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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