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STANDING WHEN THE FLAG IS FLOWN

As Veteran's Day approaches, I am grateful to my son for his twelve or so years of service in the Army. I asked my son Aaron many times about how he felt about protesters and the like. He responded that regardless of how he feels about their political issues, he joined the Army to protect and defend the Constitution and all that that means.

For myself, I never served in the military, but know that my freedom exists in large part because of the visionaries who penned the Constitution and the courageous men and women who put on the uniform for over two hundred years. And to those who marched on Selma and Washington, D.C. and to those who would not sit in the back of a bus. And those who will not sit silent while our government runs over our rights with undemocratic gerrymandered voting districts.

Before I retired, I used to love walking in front of my school, Black Mountain Elementary, and looking at the flag waving against the backdrop of the mountains and blue sky. It filled me with a sense of purpose and pride. I often drove home passed the Veteran's Cemetery in Black Mountain and would stop long enough to contemplate the service of those in the earth beneath me. I love being an American. I take citizenship seriously.

We Americans are in the middle of a storm of sorts. Our sons and daughters are all over the world in harm's way for any number of political and social reasons. I am anxious that they come home to a Nation filled with gratitude for their service.

On this Veteran's Day may we all remember what sacrifice is and the people who have sacrificed so much for us and those doing so today. For me, I owe them something. That means protecting the right of all Americans to free speech, press, religion, and so on. People have died that our fellow citizens might have those freedoms.

My opponent in this election would have our children taught to stand for a pledge and an anthem and a waving flag. For some people, sadly, symbols are alI they have. Freedom doesn't live in a symbol. It lives in our hearts and minds. I would rather we teach our children that our Constitution is a living document, not something to be shelved when others disagree with us. I would have them taught to honor the Constitution and its guarantees over the symbols of our country and to have the courage to risk rebuke by fearlessly protesting when things are not right.

That is what real Americans do. We stand for each other and zealously protect the freedom that belongs to all of us. For some standing for freedom is done in the voting booth. For some it is by engaging in the political process. For some it is by marching by the thousands in the streets of Washington ... legally and peacefully. For some it is by taking a knee.

Thank you to all veterans, but most especially for me, to my son. He stood tall for our country when he volunteered to serve. I hope that had I been called to serve back in the seventies, I would have done as well as he.


Bossert for State Senate
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