This is the flag that flew above Ft. McHenry during the war of 1812. It's the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write what became our national anthem.
I saw this flag for the first time when I was 7 years old. My dad took us to the Smithsonian and there it was; I'd never seen a flag that immense. The shock of its size and maimed condition remains with me to this very day.
I imagined the tears and holes were from the battle. They're not (well, not all of them.) They're from souvenir hunters! [See the section on snippings here.]
I'm not a huge fan of Aaron Sorkin. He's one of those writers that I appreciate less and less the more I hear his work. But he got one thing resoundingly right in the speech he wrote for Andrew Shepherd in the movie The American President.
America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.
I think this year has been a real test of how bad we want democracy.
Have a great 4th of July.