Sunday, November 27, 2022

MY TURN: Bars and Stars

by ERIK ROSTAD/Guest opinion
| November 11, 2022 1:00 AM

To me, the flag represents a country that is dedicated to your freedom and liberty. A land of unlimited opportunity. A place where the flag has evolved along with the dreams of its citizens.

Since the founding of our country in 1776, Old Glory has gone through 27 evolutions but it started with just 13 Bars and Stars. They were chosen to represent the original 13 colonies but that is not all they represent; those 13 stars represent the first dreams of our country. That initial flag wasn’t perfect; it didn’t include a lot of people in those early dreams but it was a start.

In 1818, when Illinois was added to the flag, there were 21 stars representing the dreams of this country. A shift in dreams would occur down the road, as within its borders, our future President Abraham Lincoln began his political career, later proclaiming in his Gettysburg Address, “All men are created equal.”

When we added the 37th star to our flag, Nebraska had joined the union, but more importantly, the Civil War was over and slaves could now dream. Unfortunately, that’s all former slaves could do was dream. It was over 100 years later when had the civil rights movement forced desegregation, fostering their access to the same dreams as others.

It wasn’t until after we added 35 stars to the original 13 and the lower 48 states become connected through the addition of Arizona. Did we finally allow women the chance to participate in the democratic dream by giving them the right to vote. However, we have yet to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

On July 20, 1969, the flag that was planted on the moon had 50 stars and was proof of what we can accomplish when all 50 states have the same dream. We took our shot at the stars and landed on the moon.

These 50 stars on the flags don’t just represent 50 different states but the many different dreams you can have to improve your life. Before you can shoot for the stars, you need a solid foundation. The Bars are the foundation of this country, they represent the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into forging this nation:

∙ Soldiers who have fought and died for this idea.

∙ Slaves that were brought into this land to help build railroads, plantations and infrastructure.

∙ Immigrants who left everything they knew for a chance.

∙ Families that packed up what they could and headed out west.

∙ The natives who taught us how to survive and navigate this land.

∙ Thought leaders who promoted the right of women to vote, helped end segregation and pushed for a voice to the LGBTQ community.

∙ Those who expanded frontiers, not only of industry and technology, but of both body and mind.

When you fly the Bars and Stars it means you support these ideas that every person has the freedom of their life and the liberty to pursue happiness. And if happen to see Old Glory out in the wild, then you know the person dedicated to your freedom and liberty.

Erik Rostad is a veteran and a resident of Hauser Lake.

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