On Memorial Day, I took my family to the parade on Green Street to honor the sacrifices of all who have served and to those that paid the ultimate price for freedom. My thinking was to use the event as a teaching tool for my children to understand the freedoms and rights afforded to them and were not things to be taken for granted. While it sounds great, America is more than baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet and I wanted to make sure they understood that.
As the Gainesville Police Department Color Guard presented the colors, I proudly stood at attention, waving a small American flag that was given to me as I arrived. Boldly printed across the shirt that I wore were the words "Made in the USA." It was that moment that I was struck with the cruel realization that this life lesson for my children was going to be difficult for me to explain.
You see, printed down the side of that small red, white and blue flag were the words that I never expected to see: Made in China. How do I explain that to a 9-year-old little boy?
I did my best to explain to him that sometimes people and governments compromise integrity and values for profit. Often times our elected leaders do not understand the mistakes they make until it is too late and we find ourselves in a situation where America isn't what is was envisioned to be, not what is should be and definitely not what it used to be.
I certainly hope that he understood what I was trying to tell him. Being an American is more than being a citizen of this country, but rather it is a honor and privilege that we should never take for granted.
Some things should never be compromised, Old Glory being one of them, no matter how small. Shame on the company that imported those flags.
Thank you to all that have served and fought for this great nation, that we can keep the freedoms that were are so richly blessed with.
As for my "Made in the USA" T-shirt, as it turns out, it was made in El Salvador, from U.S. fabric. Imagine that.