4th of July: What Does Independence And The Flag Mean To You?

I love taking pictures of the American flag.  The flag’s outward beauty is evident, but I think what it represents is even more beautiful; Independence.  Freedom to worship without the government telling me how I need to pray or not to pray.

Personally, I have never known religious oppression, but I know it still exists.  Growing up in the United States, I thought everyone had those same freedoms.  When I moved to Guatemala I found out that I was wrong.  Now, Guatemala is a much different place than it was even twenty years ago, and most people are very free to go to whatever church they like, but throughout Guatemala’s history the country struggled to find the right balance between secularism and religiosity.  Mainly the Catholic and Protestant populations fought for control of the government.

Each group tried to impose it’s will onto the rest of Guatemala.  This is a very simplified view of the centuries long struggle in the country.  To go deeper we would have to consider racism, classism, and greed.  Needless to say, Guatemala struggled because it wasn’t founded on independence and the freedom of religion like we were in the United States.

Maybe the reason why I love taking pictures of the flag is because America allows me to love my God.  America lets me place God first in my life.  I can abstain from saluting the flag if I feel like it is overtaking my allegiance to God.  Just think back to the 1930s, in prewar Germany, people had to give the “Hitler Salute” or face severe punishment.  And Germany was supposed to be a “Christian Nation.”  But then again, that’s the same Nazi Germany that murdered millions of Jews just because they didn’t believe in Christ, which doesn’t sound like religious freedom to me, or very Christlike.  I think it was Christ who said love your neighbor like yourself.

I know America has its flaws, but when I look at that flag, I see some of the things we’ve done right.  I thank God for my country, and I pray that some day everyone will experience true independence, true adventure; a free life with God.

I hope you get a chance to take a look at your flag and think about what it means to you.  Happy Fourth Of July!


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4 responses to “4th of July: What Does Independence And The Flag Mean To You?

  1. JPM MD

    It was about 6 or so years ago, doing committee work for the National Kidney Foundation in Baltimore. I had an afternoon break and HAD to get out of the stuffy meeting rooms. I walked from the Inner Harbor to Fort McHenry, http://www.nps.gov/fomc/index.htm
    and visited the spot where our flag’s history made a huge impression and a very famous lyric was written by Francis Scott Key! We are all acquainted with that . Today on July 4th, the drums, fifes, and cannons come out in a ceremony at Fort HcHenry, a special “flag” time. Visit this spot if you are ever in Baltimore. You will gain a new appreciation for our flag.

  2. Georgie-ann

    Idealism. Balance. Sacrifice. Sharing. Living life in a way that transcends the personal. Being willing to learn, to respect, to grow and develop talents and understanding, to volunteer, to freely give, to give back, to “go the extra mile.” Self-control. Service. Thoughtfulness. Duty. Time for reflection, consideration, remembering, inspiration. BEING an everyday “regular guy” hero, rather than sitting-around idolizing false “exaggerated fantasy heroes.” Worshipping God. Loving Truth. Caring for your fellow man.

    Being awake and aware,… not dull and in a stupor. Being selective and responsible, making the most of good opportunities. Turning away from evil, having the senses willingly trained and disciplined in these matters. Doing good and helping the helpless. Living life with a prayerful and loving heart.

    If these things are reflected in your countenance, it will be beautiful.

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