In recent years, our country's symbol of freedom has come under attack. I am not referring to foreign nations stomping on and burning our flag. I am talking about our own government interfering with the right of Americans to display their American flag.
The Internet is full of articles in which the flying of the American flag has raised some sort of controversy. Local governments and, in some cases, state governments, have interfered with the right of individuals to proudly display their American flags.
Earlier in this year I was involved in such a situation. I received a citation for having an" illegal sign" in the right of way. My country's flag is not a sign. It is instead a symbol. It stands for all that is good in this great nation. It stands for the freedoms we enjoy each and every day. It seems that many Americans take these freedoms for granted. These freedoms did not come without much loss of life.
Since the beginning of this great nation, countless men and women have sacrificed their lives to protect our freedoms. No other country in the world enjoys the freedoms we Americans have. We have our men and women in our Armed Forces to thank for that. It is a sad thought that many of us only think about our troops when something terrible happens. Almost every day one or more of our soldiers is killed in battle. These are someone's dad, mother, brother, sister, husband, wife or other relative.
Though we might not know these individuals personally, we should share in the grief their families have. These fallen soldiers deserve our respect. One way of showing that respect is to display your American flag each and every day. Not just on so-called flag holidays.
Earlier in this year, I decided to contact The Albany Herald. I told them I wanted the flag to be displayed in their paper each and every day.
They were excited to help me. They agreed to co-sponsor an ad. I wish I could afford to take out a much larger ad. Wouldn't it be awesome to see an American flag displayed on an entire page? Perhaps in full color.
Maybe one day. Perhaps businesses throughout our city could also sponsor this ad?
As a result of my own flag controversy, I have had the honor of meeting hundreds of active duty as well as retired military personnel from throughout our nation. Not a day goes by when someone who serves or has served in our military doesn't come by my business to thank me for my stand on my flag. They share with me the importance of what displaying my flag means to them. They have served to protect this flag and all it represents. And just like me, it saddens them that so few people and businesses display an American flag.
I must admit that since my flag controversy, many new flags are indeed being displayed in this city. I, along with our military personnel, thank you for this.
Would it not be awesome to see American flags flying all the way up and down our city streets and throughout our neighborhoods? It amazes me at how many flagpoles I see in Albany with no flag on them.
I don't understand it. Perhaps these flagpole owners don't know where to purchase a flag? Maybe they do not know how to raise their flag. As for businesses in town, the Marine Corps League would be proud to give you a new flag to display. If these individuals were to contact me, I would be happy in assisting them. I can be reached at (229) 432-0351 or (229) 881-3705. My name is Tom Gieryic.
Few things are more beautiful than our nation's flag waving so gallantly in the wind. Please join me in displaying our country's symbol each and every day. Dig out those stored flags and display them with pride all year long.
Thomas Gieryic is the owner of Gieryic's Dawson Road Automotive Repair in Albany.