The American Flag: Symbol Of The Vanishing American Dream

1049 words - 4 pages

When the flag was first made, it symbolized freedom and opportunity for both citizens of American and the immigrants. There was the dream that America was a place of freedom, where you could do what you want, say what you want, and get a job or own your own land. For some, that dream became a reality, but for many of those immigrants, it has proven to be just that, a dream. Is this piece of cloth we hold in such high regard simply an ironic symbol or the American dream? Does it truly symbolize freedom and opportunity, or is it simply a token for those who want to flaunt their opinions and financial status.? Every person should have a certain amount of respect for this country and the opportunities and freedom it provides, but I don't agree that the American flag should or does stand for those things. From my own observations, I have found that today the flag merely makes a distinction between two types of Americans, more specifically a distinction between the American reality and the American dream.

Throughout the eighteen years or my life, I have observed the flag in many different places. When I was younger, I remember seeing it flash across a movie screen, waving high in the air, held by a triumphant American soldier. I also saw it every year on the Fourth of July in parades, covering floats, or held by enthusiastic participants. In fourth grade I was chosen to do the important job of taking down and folding the flag every afternoon, a job that took much care and importance. I remember wondering then, why is it so important that I do not drop this flag, and why it was such a big deal. I didn't understand why those soldiers on the movie screen were holding the flag so high in the air, and why it was so widely used on the Fourth of July? I have since come to learn about the Civil War and World War II. I have come to realize why the soldiers and the parade participants waved this piece of cloth; it was their way of showing patriotism and their belief in the American dream. I have also come to realize that the reason I was taught to handle the American flag with such care was because schools across America, they try to teach children at an early age to have this kind of patriotism. School systems try to instill American calues in people at a young age because they know children will be the ones to shape the American future.

In looking at the American flag as one of America's artifacts, I have come to reconsider something I observed a couple of years ago. While traveling I have found that there are some similarities everywhere I go. I remember traveling through a few small rural towns in Massachusetts, where I live, for example. As i drove through one side of the town, I saw large beautiful flags, hung from beautiful houses. As I drove further those beautiful houses got scarcer and scarcer until that...

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