Posted tagged ‘patriotic’

happy Birthday USA

July 2, 2015

by Dr. Steven J. Callis

Are you a fan?  Sometimes called an aficionado, such a person is enthusiastically devoted to a person or a thing.  One could be a sports fan, or a fan of art, a music group, a specific author, and so on.  One’s enthusiasm may be displayed in a variety of ways, but the key word seems to be “devoted.”

Many of us in this community are “Braves” fans.  I consider myself a fan of a few sports teams, though I am not a fan-atic.  That is, I cheer for them, wear their colors, and perk up my ears when I hear their name mentioned.  However, my devotion is not necessarily expressed in extreme knowledge of the team’s history, statistics of the current playing roster; I do not have an insatiable hunger for every bit of news I can find about my teams on a given day.

On the other hand, neither am I a fair-weather fan.  Win or lose, good or bad, I still consider it to be “my” team.  Over the last couple of years we have watched in dismay as some of our favorite Braves players were traded to other organizations.  It just seems wrong, even now, to see McCann in pinstripes, Heyward with a bird on his cap, and Gattis as an Astro. But we are still the Braves.

I do not attend many of the games, but when I do, I am there until the final pitch for the final out in the final inning.  I have been in a college football stadium watching disgusted season ticket holders walk out at the end of the third quarter!  It may be my loyalty, and more likely my frugality, but I am staying put until the proverbial fat lady sings.

This weekend we are celebrating our nation’s birthday, and I am a fan.  Similar to the illustration above, I do not always agree with our government, or with high-ranking decisions, or with cultural trends, but that fact does not diminish my love for country.  Our nation is not a government, or a set of laws and codes; our nation is a people.  Even then, sometimes I wonder what we are thinking when “the people’ vote a certain way on issues or political leaders when it goes against the grain of my personal beliefs.  Yet, I love “my” country.

And so, I will choose to wear her colors, pray for her daily, and support her as much as my own convictions will allow.  Lyricist Don Raye declared, “This is my country, land of my birth.  This is my country, grandest on earth.  I pledge thee my allegiance, America the bold. This is my country to have and to hold.”  Let us all seek to look beyond the red, yellow, black, and white to a harmonious vision of Red-White-and-Blue.  This is our country.  Pray for her daily, and live as a model citizen should live.



She’s a Grand Ol’ Flag!

September 19, 2014

Does your heart beat true for the red, white, and blue?

Dr. Steven J. Callis

It was not a Broadway hit, but I was on stage at the age of 6.  The first grade classes at Fairview Elementary School were combined to present a special patriotic play for all the parents.  There were cowboys and cowgirls, flags and music, lots of fanfare – it was a rodeo scene, and I was a clown.

Three of us were chosen to be clowns for the play.  I hesitate to admit it, but I was the saddest of clowns!  I did not mind the face painting, though it did not thrill me to be wearing makeup.  The funny hat was okay, I suppose, and the baggy clothes and mismatched socks were tolerable.  My mom worked hard to help me look like a clown.

But for whatever reason, I decided to draw a line when it came to the shoes. After only 5 years of life, my experience with clowns was minimal.  I did not realize shoes were such a big deal for a rodeo clown, but apparently…well, my mom’s designer clown outfit included my oldest brother’s tennis shoes.  He was a seventh grader, and as it turns out, clowns are supposed to wear shoes that are too big for their feet.

I remember the fuss, but I do not recall why I decided to “put my foot down” at that point. Maybe it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.  The entire clown suit was too large for me, I felt conspicuous, and I did not want to fall down walking in these clown shoes.  And the craziest part of it – I was afraid people would laugh at me (yes, I know, that was the point, but I was 6)!

Well, mom won out, and of course, I was cute as a button. Proudly, I still have the 8×10 black and white photo of Tim, Alan, and me.

The grand finale of the play brought the house down. Most of the rodeo players were stretched across the stage in 3 lines with space between each line.  The remaining players marched back and forth across the stage carrying American flags between the lines of students as the music blared, “You’re a grand ol’ flag, you’re a high flying flag, and forever in peace may you wave.  You’re the emblem of the land I love; the home of the free and the brave.”

While there are significant concerns across our nation politically, socially, economically, spiritually, and environmentally, the key has always been our ability to put the good of the nation above personal self-interests. We must be able to sing with deep conviction, “every heart beats true for the red, white, and blue.”  I’ll never forget how that song brought a room full of parents to their feet with pride for their children and for their nation.