Today I saw the largest American Flag I have ever seen. It was a large as a building. The wind was blowing from the south and the flag waved across a cloudless blue sky. As though looking through the lens of a camera, I saw nothing else but the beautifully framed picture of Old Glory. My heart still beats a bit faster and my eyes well with tears at the sight of the Red, White and Blue.
As a child of the 30’s and 40’s I have grown up with a great sense of patriotism. School days were never started without the Pledge of Allegiance. We knew the words to the “Star Spangled Banner” and sang it often. We understood that our fathers, brothers, uncles and neighbors were at war for us and our way of life.
Recycling was not a notion born in the 80’s. We recycled everything during the war to help with the war-effort. Gum used to be wrapped in foil over wax paper. We peeled the foil off and rolled it into a large ball to be recycled. Bacon grease was recycled through the local butcher shop (if your family was lucky enough to get any bacon). As school children,we would go out occasionally through the neighborhood collecting metal items or old tires to be turned over to local vendors working for the federal government recycling centers. As children we felt we were doing our part to help the fighting men and women overseas.
We also bought savings-stamps and war bonds to help finance the war effort. I felt great pride when my little stamp book was full. As I recall each stamp was ten cents and we stood in line in the school hallway waiting our turn to give our dime and get a stamp.
I remember seeing movie stars in the newsreels at the movies as they gave shows to promote selling of war bonds. I watched my grandmother knit olive-drab socks for the military. Every age group and every walk of life was involved. My heart would swell with pride when I saw the Red and White Pennants with the Blue Stars hanging in a window. I knew that in that house there was the family of a military man or woman. Sometimes there was more than one star; indicating true sacrifice. Perhaps participating at all those levels is why our generation still respects and reverences Old Glory.
As the Fourth of July approaches I wish to thank the many men and women who have made it possible for this child of the 30’s and 40’s to grow up in freedom. The American Flag I saw today was huge; but not as huge as the hearts of the American Military. Dear Freedom Fighters, past and present, we owe you and your families more than we can ever repay. Perhaps if we can help keep the Lamp of Freedom Lit, value our freedoms and exercise them faithfully, it might show you that we really do appreciate you and all you have done.
Great article. It took me back down memory lane since I, too, lived those days. Rationing was also used....I am sure you remember. I pray that the patriotism we witnessed will come over this great USA. It has cost a lot for our freedoms we enjoy. Thank you for sharing this. May God continue to bless you.