But in 2008, that woman also created a flag painting for me. Neither of us knew at the time it would later become the cover to my book (the painting came well before the idea for the book). There's probably dozens of reasons why she chose to paint this particular painting, but the simple fact of the matter is that she knew I would appreciate it.
The painting is of a portion of the American flag with the same eagle found on the back of a Sacagawea dollar coin. The painting has become a symbol in our household, a symbol of patriotism, loyalty, honor, and above all, God and country.
And now, today is Memorial Day, 2015 and people across the country will spend the day with family and friends, myself included. Historically, Memorial Day has always been spent with family and friends, but rather than having a cook-out with the living, the time was spent decorating the graves of those who died defending this great country (in fact, it was originally termed Decoration Day).
What surprises me most about the original "Decoration Day," isn't the idea that people decided to gather together and honor fallen soldiers, but it was who the soldiers were and the frame of mind our country was in during this time.
You see, the first Decoration Day was celebrated shortly after the Civil War. Our great country was still healing from being nearly ripped in two. Some great American patriots gathered together to decorate the graves of the Civil War dead, both Union and Confederate. For one day, they put aside their differences and stood together for the good of their country.
As I look back on my flag painting now, I can't help but think of all the unintentional meanings. If you look at the side opposite the eagle on the Sacagawea dollar, you'll see an image of Sacagawea herself. Sacagaweawa did quite a bit more than just "guide" the Lewis and Clark expedition, she served as an interpreter and a symbol of peace for the westward expedition. Communication and peace are vital for any nation that's trying to grow and improve.
Sacagawea later became a symbol for the Women's suffrage movement. Yet another time when the country was nearly split in two.
And now, in 2015, our country is once again (or always has been) threatening to split. I believe it simply comes down to the difference between Patriot and traitor. I tell you one more thing, the patriots will win!
It's not just my belief, it's in the core of our country. You see, our Pledge of Allegiance clearly states that we are "One nation, under God, indivisible."
We may have rifts in the country that try to tear this country apart, but they have never succeeded and they never will. Whether it be differences in race or religion, healthcare, taxes, or who should be our next president, our country will remain standing long after the traitors try splitting it.
But today isn't the day for a call to action. Today is the day to remember. Remember the patriots who fought to keep this country strong but also remember the traitors who tried, and failed, to split this country.
For one day only, I want you think good and hard about those people. Think about and honor those who gave you the country you inherited. Today is a day to put aside your differences and stand together for the good of your country.
Today is Memorial Day, 2015 and we are still one nation, under God, indivisible.