What the American Flag Means to Me

Today’s short essay by Michelle Burge brings an example of constant elements in Filipino American culture that can sustain and strengthen us.  Some of us see the modern world as changing frenetically. People too seem to be rapidly changing. In a tech connected world we still have cultural symbols and artifacts to hold and ground us.  We can be humanly connected through these symbols, their history and our personal relationships as well. Resting on the American flag is something to be remembered.  Michelle wrote her essay thirteen years ago on the flag. It still waves relevantly today with the many struggles and ideals that people desire for being American.
– FANHS Seattle

Flags_national mall

“What the American Flag Means to Me”

I was born on Flag Day, 38 years ago.  The American Flag represents many things to me.  I remember being little and asking my mother why the flags were out on my birthday.  Her answer, “they know it’s your birthday and they want to celebrate”.  Shortly thereafter, I learned the truth.  However, I still have that child-like wonder when I see the flag flying high on June 14!

Over the years, the flag has represented many turning points in my life.  It was pinned to the lapels that I clung to and cried on, when my brothers came home from Viet Nam.  I learned how important it was to believe in your country and to have faith – “one Nation under God…”.  It was draped over my grandfather’s coffin.  He was proud to be a Filipino-American and was honored to serve his country during WWII.  The country that he loved so much.  I learned the importance of pride – “…and to the republic for which it stands…”.

At our house, we proudly fly the flag, not only on June 14, but every day of the year, to pay respect to a wonderful country we call Home!

by Michelle Burge
June, 2001

[Michelle won 1st prize for this essay at Bank of America’s Diversity Network Flag Day Essay Contest.  She is a contributing blogger through the FANHS Greater Seattle chapter.]

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