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The Flag

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The simple beauty of the cloth moving back and forth with the breeze created a timeless moment. The red alternates to white until the white is wrapped in a blanket of blue. Sturdy and erect, it remains forever proud of what it represents. Change has come upon our nation, but this simple cloth remains constant. It follows us to wherever we may go, whether it be into battle or just to school. This sense of patriotism is not always created overnight; it takes a long time for some people, like myself, to build up thus feeling. Let me tell you my story.

I grew up in the midst of the Civil War, on the side of the North. My two older brothers enlisted as soon as they could, and my parents were so proud. I didn't understand why they were so happy to see their sons go and face death in the face, but at fifteen, I thought I could still cling to my na've persona. My mother would bake a batch of cookies and send it to my brothers, who shared it with their company. As I watched my mother bake, I remember asking her why. She smiled at me and responded with a shrug of her shoulders.

'We're Americans darling. It's part of what we do to support our boys while they're out there fighting for us.'

After that day, I began to help her bake, believing I made a difference. My eldest brother, Jacob, wrote to me every week. He told me about the men in his company, the battles he took part in, and how much he enjoyed the cookies we sent. It gave me a sense of importance to know he appreciated my small effort to help. One day the letters stopped. I didn't know why, and neither did my parents, so we waited, tense. The house was quiet, even in the kitchen on baking day. My mind analyzed the facts and came up with solution after solution, none of which sat well with me.

A week later, my other brother, Thomas, wrote to us. Jacob had been helping to load the canon when he was shot in the stomach. He died almost instantly, and Thomas was with him the whole time. I stopped baking cookies with my mother, and stayed in my room for a long time, scoffing at the idealism of patriotism. Patriotism had killed my brother. A few weeks later, Thomas sent me a letter. I won't tell you everything he said, but I will tell you the most important part.

'I know you're upset with a lot of people for what happened to Jacob. Heck, I don't even mind if you hate me. The one thing you have to remember through all of this is that we're not fighting to die, but to live. Your brother died so that the little girl down the street has a mother to tuck her into bed, and father to protect her from harm. We don't fight for valor, we fight for justice.'

A month after this letter, I turned eighteen. I woke up that morning with a sense of determination filling my entire body. I had informed my parents earlier in the week that I planned to enlist on this day. I knew I would be sent into battle immediately, and I knew the reports were not good, but I also knew how much good we could do if we continued fighting. My brother Thomas, and Jacob, have shown me that patriotism isn't about the vain things. Rather, it is for the things we may not live the see the effects of, but die to make happen.

I walked to my parents and stared at them for a long moment. My mother reached out to me and I pulled her into a hug. Looking into the proud yet sad eyes of my parents, I admired these soldiers even more for their brave. I walked away from one family and joined a much larger one. Two weeks of training and I was put in a regiment close to my brother.

I'll never forget my first night with the men of my regiment. We had been in a small skirmish and only a few were badly injured. Seeing the blood on the face of one soldier made me realize that we all knew what signing up for the military meant. One man had almost lost his leg today, we barely managed to get him away from the battle. Another had his arm taken off, and we did what we could for him. Those who were healthy took care of the weaker ones, making sure they had no pain. These men were true models of the word patriotism. You only had to look in the corner of any army tent to feel inspiration.

The simple beauty of the cloth moving back and forth with the breeze created a timeless moment. The red alternates to white until the white is wrapped in a blanket of blue. Sturdy and erect, it remains forever proud of what it represents. Change has come upon our nation, but this simple piece of cloth remains constant. It follows us to wherever we may go, whether it be into battle or just to school. This sense of patriotism is not always created overnight, but it is there, and one day each and every one of us will see it.





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