I was born in a generation when freedom was symbolized by a thin piece of cloth bearing 50 stars and the colors of red, white and blue. Standing at attention, beginning as a child with my hand across the heart, became a constant routine that was some how pleasing to my mind and soul.

Never forgetting this feeling even into my adulthood, I always longed for this thin piece of cloth to fly overhead until one day I was fortunate enough to raise a pole towards heaven.

Standing in front of the pole holding the piece of cloth gently in my hand, I suddenly feel a tingling that can not be explained.

Up, the thin piece of cloth climbs until the wind greets it with a gentle breeze. Looking up into the blazing sun, it seemed, for a brief moment, like the stars had transformed into 50 distinct faces. Shaking the glare from my eyes I looked up again, and the familiar stars and colors were back as they were supposed to be. Noting in my memory this as strange, I turn and walk back into my home -- hot and miserable.

I seek the gentle evening breeze and walk to the bench in my yard to contemplate everything that had transpired in the relative calm of the moment. Looking from the ground up, my eyes canvas the pole until they reach the thin piece of cloth, and to my utter amazement the stars are replaced by the 50 distinct faces again.

Young gentleman, millions of soft voices, chime in "You have raised a thin piece of cloth towards heaven, but before you have satisfaction you must know what this action represents."

"Blue is the color most associated with the armed forces that down throughout history have allowed you to sleep comfortably in your own bed.

"Red is the color that represents the blood that all men and women would shed so you are able to walk with freedom draped around your shoulders.

"White is the color of maximum purity that represents everything good in the world and is the reason we have fought to protect it.

"Stars represent a tear drop for each state that has given one of their own for a chance at the freedom that today is taken for granted.

"Raising that thin piece of cloth may give your eyes contentment but always remember we have all lived and died within its borders, so that this day you have the freedom to honor a thin piece of cloth blessed by the angels."