#240: Half Respect

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

Everyday, Americans go out from their homes to work or recreation. As they drive around or take the bus to wherever, each and every one of them pass the American flag. Some days the flag is waving proudly in the air, almost shining in all of its glory. Other days it is at half mast, showing silent respect for recently departed.

Think back to the last three times you passed a flag at half mast. Can you remember who had recently passed in each case? Why was our glorious flag flying at only half the distance it should be? Was it someone in the military that had recently given their lives for their country? Or was it a notable political figure that had served his or her country for many years? Perhaps it was a respected actor or actress that had entertained our country for years?

Odds are you can remember one, maybe two of the reasons. And in each case it was someone well known, or someone in the military. Those people performed a great service for us, and deserve our respect to varying degrees. Who was it that caused the flag to go down when you can’t remember it? Does it matter any more to you? Probably not.

What about the masses of Americans that die every day, some for noble causes, others ending a long and rewarding life.. thousands of people every day that have done great things for our country, advanced technology, helped cure ailments, taught the children of our society, or other things. When are they honored by their fellow countrymen (and women)? Are they even known about by others in their town or city?

Sure the newspaper will put them in the obituaries or write a brief article about their life and accomplishments, but do they get the respect and admiration they really deserve? No. They are no different than these others that are honored nationally. The only difference lies in how many people knew about him or her. That doesn’t seem fair to me though, that an actor who technically does nothing for the nation in the way of advancements or whatnot, gets all this attention, while a teacher of thirty years passes on without a ‘thanks’ or public attention.

Every day we should fly our flags at half mast. Every day, by default we should honor those members of the silent masses who have earned the respect of their peers. After that, when you pass a flagpole and see it at half mast, you can think to yourself about all the people that have made a difference along with any popular people that have passed away.

Sometimes a great accomplishment will come along and everyone will join for a day in appreciation of that event. Maybe a successful space flight, a triumphant set of Olympic games, or something else will come along and cause us to celebrate and fly the flag at full mast. Reverse the current situation of ignoring the masses, and move to a state where we honor them everyday in this small way.

I don’t know, maybe it is a crazy idea, or too depressing for the masses. I’d like to think that it will bring a small sense of unity to some individuals, help them understand the concept of respect and honor. Its a shot in the dark, but maybe…just maybe…

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