June 12, 2024

Flags on farms: Wrapped in red, white and blue

Rural Issues

You see the American flag often as you travel across the heartland.

Beginning with Memorial Day and ending shortly after Independence Day, we see more American flags flying than at any other time of the year.

These federal holidays and the non-federal holiday Flag Day are reminders for us to put that grand old flag on display and showcase our patriotism.

I am certainly not discounting our collective patriotism, but the shine begins to fade after the Fourth of July celebrations and other summer activities like county and state fairs and community picnics where Old Glory is fully celebrated.

We love our country and our Stars and Stripes, but life gets busy. There are other ways we can show our patriotism throughout the year that also carry a lot of weight.

First and foremost, vote in every election. That act honors the principles upon which our country was founded and is a freedom many others around the world do not have.

Another important way to show patriotism is to show support for those who did serve or who are currently serving in the military.

Many Americans disagree about the role our country should play in the war in Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas war.

Many Americans have no idea how many wars have involved U.S. military forces or how many wars and military interventions and engagements we are involved in today. You do not have to support the war to support our troops.

I was only 10 years old when a ceasefire was called in the Vietnam War and American soldiers began exiting the country for good. That was Jan. 27, 1973. The United States had been sending troops to Vietnam since the 1950s.

Although the Vietnam War was a reality of my childhood, I really did not have a full understanding of its impact on our lives until years later.

Almost 3 million U.S. men and women were sent to fight the war in Vietnam. Many veterans were treated with disrespect upon return to the United States because many Americans did not agree with nor understand that war.

Unlike the Vietnam War, most Americans today do support the men and women in the military.

My parents instilled in me a sense of patriotic responsibility. They taught us to respect the American flag and that early teaching was reinforced through 4-H, where at camp we participated in flag raising and lowering ceremonies each day.

We learned how to clip the flag to the rope so it would easily glide to the top of the pole and fly freely in the breeze, but more importantly we learned how to handle it with respect.

My brother, niece, cousins, uncles and many other relatives and friends have served or continue to serve in the military, and I am very proud of them and the sacrifices they have made for you and me.

When you put your hand over heart, pledge allegiance to our flag and cast your ballot, let none of us forget the sacrifices being made every day by our U.S. military.

Cyndi Young-Puyear

Cyndi Young-Puyear

Cyndi Young-Puyear is farm director and operations manager for Brownfield Network.