Let's not forget the promise of what America can be

Brandon Case
Pratt Tribune
An American flag reflects the sun along U.S. South Highway 281 near Medicine Lodge and the Kiowa County turnoff, a symbol of hope to many in the heartland, and to Pratt Tribune columnist Brandon Case.

Sometimes I forget how much I love my country.

Then, I see a small but simple gesture of respect that reminds me of what a blessing it is to live here.

Just off of Highway 281, somewhere between Medicine Lodge and the Kiowa turnoff, an American flag, attached to metal fencepost, flies day and night, with lights illuminating it (which, by the way, is considered good flag etiquette). This is not bold, brash in your face patriotism (which can degenerate into the dreaded disease of nationalism), but, rather, a humble gesture from someone who, I suspect, loves his (or her) country very dearly.

Perhaps this person served in the military and truly understands what it means to sacrifice in behalf of our flag and what it stands for. I don’t know. But every time I pass by the flag, on trips south of Pratt, it gives me hope for the future. That flag holds the promise of what America can be: a land of freedom, liberty, and justice for all.

Yes, I have been critical of her in the past. America definitely has her share of flaws. We see those imperfections all too frequently publicized in the media. This country has not always been the land of the free.

But America also has numerous good qualities, which are evident in its people and their characters. America holds a bright torch out to the world and beckons others to follow the (even difficult) path of democracy. America is the bright hope of a spring day after a long, cold winter.

We must not give up on her. We simply can’t relinquish the promise that America holds when things go wrong. Many have fought and died for what our country represents, so that its citizens (old-timers and newcomers alike) might continue to reap the blessings of a better tomorrow.

When I see that solitary flag rippling in the Kansas wind, it gives me hope that we will somehow make it through whatever darkness lies ahead.