The great nation of the United States of America was built on the principles of liberty, equality, and unequivocal democracy; detailed eloquently in the constitution. For decades and decades, people living in the United States have regarded their citizenship to this country as something to be proud of. Our flag has always represented the beacon of freedom through dark days in history. As detailed in the Star Spangled Banner, our flag was a symbol of freedom through the battle for Fort McHenry in the War of 1812. We are reminded by the iconic image of five marines raising the flag on Mt. Suribachi that our flag is much more than a flag. Our flag, fifty stars and thirteen stripes of greatness, represent not only a country but an attitude. Americans have always shamelessly waved their flag, sporting their colors in support of a great nation. The flag is recognized in nearly every corner of the world. Upon entering the United States, immigrants are greeted with the flag. The flag flies proudly in front yards and at almost every major sporting event. It is woven into our culture, and we are taught to respect the flag and everything it stands for.

Lately, our flag has been degraded to nothing but a piece of polyester and cotton. In a recent article by Campus Reform, The Associated Students of University of California, Irvine voted to remove flags (including the American flag) from an inclusive space on campus. Their reasoning was this: “The American flag has been flown in instances of colonialism and imperialism. Symbolism has negative and positive aspects that are interpreted differently by individuals.” ┬áThe measure was eventually vetoed, however, in another article by Campus Reform, over 60 professors have signed a letter supporting the flag ban. This ban was one of many attempts to degrade and disrespect the American flag.

Burning the American flag has stepped back into the spotlight in the United States, specifically within the Ferguson protests. Protesters marched with flags held upside down, eventually burning them. When you burn the American flag, you are burning the symbol of your freedom. You are burning the flag of the country that gives you the right to assemble and protest. When you burn the flag, you liken yourself to anti-Western protesters in the Middle East.

If we are to set our country back on the road to prosperity, we must reinvigorate a certain respect and love for this flag, this beautiful symbol of freedom. Although many things must be changed before the United States returns to the respected superpower it once was, one thing that must change at home is the reinstatement of nationalism and patriotism coupled with a true respect for the Stars and Stripes. As the great Ronald Reagan said in a radio address on Flag Day back in 1986,

“From the harsh winter of Valley Forge to the blazing night above Fort McHenry, those patriot soldiers were sustained by the ideals of human freedom. Through the hardships and the setbacks, they kept their eyes on that ideal and purpose, just as through the smoke of battle they kept a lookout for the flag. For with the birth of our nation, the cause of human freedom had become forever tied to that flag and its survival.”

As Nick Offerman stated in a recent commercial, it’s time for a gut check America. It’s time to support this country and the flag that proudly flies from sea to beautiful shining sea.