Oh, Say Can You See…Red, White, and Blue?

From a peaceful country-side neighborhood with white picket fences to the noisy and fast-paced bustle of a metro area, we live, work, and struggle in the United States – and we are privileged.Red White and Blue

What does it mean to be an American? What does it mean to live within the borders of the United States?

We all have different opinions and are allowed to express those opinions – the good, the bad, and the ugly. That is one of our great privileges. But, at times it can breed bitterness, hatred, and divisiveness with lack of respect throughout our communities.

It seems narcissistic attitudes have cultivated through all media platforms and technological interfaces. Empathy and compassion for others’ opinions have diminished, giving way to a negative and definitive way of thinking.

So what about the red, white, and blue? In the midst of the over-stated and too often glorified disrespect and selfishness in our country, sometimes we may need a friendly reminder about the promise, privilege, honor, and opportunity of living in America.

I do not believe that I am alone… we all notice the display of our great American flag, and in many cases, it is not displayed at all. The good news is that I have seen more businesses and homes flying the American flag, but I believe there is room for improvement.

I recently noticed flag poles at conspicuous locations on buildings and homes, that once proudly displayed our flag, are now gone. Sometimes, lanyards are missing and flags are old and faded, or even ripped.

I spoke to some local building owners and managers, and in some cases, they shared how they have more things to worry about in day-to-day operations, which take priority over flying the flag. They also expressed their lack of proper flag etiquette, which raises concern of anticipated complaints. Too often that weighs heavier than the importance of flying our red, white, and blue.

I also noticed empty flag poles throughout our residential communities. In some cases, people may not be able to raise or lower their flag or understand flag etiquette as described in the U.S. Flag Code.

GreenLightaVetWith Veterans’ Day fast approaching, I encourage everyone to fly the red, white, and blue, and join the #GreenLightaVet campaign.

A friendly reminder to all who live and work in the United States… this is an awesome place to live. We have responsibilities, opportunities, and goals. It is a reflection of our privilege to live in this great country.

I am proud and honored to be an American.

From a Patriotic Perspective

We have the best idea since sliced bread… yeah, right! Well, all of us are have likely said this a number of times throughout our lives for sure. Who has pursued their idea? If you’re fortunate, most of you have.

Community and patriotism
Photo: Post and Courier

Standard of Patriotism (SOP) founders certainly have, and we would like to share a few of the roads we have been down to inspire and influence our supporters’ success – this will help sustain our country and our citizens. When SOP launched, we certainly had several ideas on what we thought would be influential to our region, however, our testing of these projects fell on the ears of internal members.

For a sanity check, SOP requested a meeting with the City of Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton. Our goal is simple: get the mayor’s approval of this potentially valuable resource and ask him where he thought a tool like SOP could complement his current work and future goals for the city. You see, SOP’s goal is to raise, influence, support, and foster American patriotism within our communities and country – the goal being that if our citizens enhance their pride by participating with community and organizational events, higher education institutions will find meaningful tools in recruiting prospective students based upon community service, respect, honor, and duty to community. State and local employers would benefit by recruiting patriotic Americans who are loyal and vested in their communities with a greater chance at getting longevity, experience, and loyalty from local patriotic citizens.

The meeting with Mayor Boughton was well founded and the wealth of information coming from the chief executive officer of Danbury, CT was refreshing, to say the least. His perspective directed more to the change management and culture of our city.

For example, Mayor Boughton shared that a number of elderly folks living in residential neighborhoods can no longer raise and lower their flags. His suggestion to SOP was to develop a team that can go to local communities and elderly homes to raise and lower our great American flag where Danbury citizens can no longer do this. SOP accepted, and more importantly, found that recruiting volunteers was fast and easy when it comes to patriotism.

Today, local ROTC units, and Army Reserve Center with the 411th civil affairs battalion have graciously accepted to participate and this could also help their recruiting methods. Mayor Boughton also believes that this could be a way to demonstrate American pride in a respectful way to our neighbors and businesses throughout Danbury and the state of Connecticut. SOP is continuing to develop this meaningful patriotic program and looks forward to its growth.

Mayor Boughton (who is a former educator) also suggested that a growing number of citizens in Danbury may be unacquainted with our patriotic history and culture, and therefore are unaware of the pride and patriotism to community. We are all responsible to ensure our children, family, and friends feel a sense of belonging and acceptance to our great country.

Each year, Mayor Mark Boughton has a city cleanup day in spring. During this annual event, approximately 500 kids from local K-12 schools help with keeping their neighborhoods clean. In 2017, SOP will help boost these efforts by establishing a picnic/BBQ to recognize and reward all volunteers who participate with support from our businesses, organizations, and families.

In closing, SOP is at the beginning of our journey and we sense that our idea of enhancing patriotism is better than sliced bread. With pride, respect, and duty to our country, there are many talents that can foster patriotism well into our children’s futures.

Mayor Mark Boughton’s perspective and recommendations to SOP will serve a higher purpose to our next generation patriots and future leaders of this great country… What is your Standard of Patriotism?

by: Ron Hollister, SOP Founder