|Photo by Michael Friberg|
The following script was read during the retirement ceremony:
I am your Flag. I was born on June 14, 1777. I am more than just a piece of cloth shaped into a colorful design; I am the silent sentinel of freedom for the greatest sovereign nation on earth. I am the inspiration for which America patriots gave their lives and fortunes; I am the emblem of America.
I have led your sons into battle from Valley Forge to Afghanistan. I have been there though the Civil War, Two World wars, at Gettysburg, Flanders, Korea, the Gulf War, all of them. I was there with George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and I here with you now.
I have flown through Peace and War. Through strife and Prosperity, and amidst it all, I have always been respected. My red stripes symbolize the blood spilled in defense of this glorious nation. My white stripes, the burning tears shed by Americans who lost their sons in battle. My blue field represents God’s Heaven under which I fly, and my stars, clustered together, unify the fifty states as one for God and Country.
I am "Old Glory" and I proudly wave on high. Honor me, respect me, and defend me with your lives. Never let our enemies tear me down from my lofty position, lest I never return. Keep alight the fires of patriotism, strive earnestly for the spirit of democracy, and keep me always as a symbol of freedom, liberty, and peace in our country.
When it comes the time when I am old and faded, do not let me fly in disrepair, rather Retire me from my duties only to replace me with a new flag so that I may continue to symbolize our country.
In the midst of the silent salutes as the first flag was carefully placed into the fire, my vision became blurred as tears welled in my eyes. I've realized it before, but that was the moment that I accepted that our America, our Republic, the one that so many bled and died for, is truly dead.
I reflected on the fact that my boys will never know the freedom that was promised to them. They will only know stories of what it used to be. Hoodwinked by opportunists and allowed to be sold by a complacent citizenry, it may be too late to turn back.
Yes, it may be too late, but I will not roll over and do nothing.
I choose not to distract myself with television 'programming' like the masses do.
I choose not to waste my time pumping my head full of useless lyrics from sub-par poets set to the same monotonous beats.
I choose not to go to the Colosseum in my living room and watch opposing teams battle over a pigskin ball.
I choose to spend my time earning an honest living to provide for my family.
I choose to spend my time learning as much as I can from like minded men like John Mosby, Arctic Patriot, and others.
I choose to spend my time making plans and preparations for what's to come.
I need to work more on building my tribe.
I need to work more on establishing contacts.
There is always something more that needs to be done.
I will continue to do what I can to prepare for the fight we all know is coming. Hell, even the .gov knows it's coming! What do you think they are getting ready for?
I owe it to my family.
I owe it my myself.
And most of all, I owe it to those who served in my stead.
There are times when I feel like a rider in Theoden's army, facing an insurmountable horde of Orcs.
But I am not alone, when I look around, I see others besides me with the same thoughts and concerns.
When the time arrives, I will die fighting. I choose to die free of those who want to oppress me. I will not be the only one.
I've made my peace with it. My soul is secure. Death has no claim over me.
The Republic is dead, but I am not.