Pledge Your Allegiance: Flag Day Should Rekindle Our Spirit of Patriotism. But Is It?
AMONGST SEVERAL OF OUR national identities, the Liberian Flag symbolizes our country’s rich history and when one seeks to examine the definitions of all its characteristics, freedom, courage and moral excellence would suffice as the foremost basic principles upon which the Flag was tailored on August 24, 1847.
OUR FLAG WAS MODELLED by the United States based on one obvious historical reason: this nation was founded, colonized, established, and controlled by free people of color and formerly enslaved black people from the US and the Caribbean with help from the US government which funded the American Colonization Society (ACS). The 11 stripes represent the signatories of the 11 men who signed the declaration of Independence; the red and white symbolizes courage and moral excellence; the single white star represents the first independent Republic on the Blue, which symbolizes the African Continent.
BEYOND WHAT IS THE EXPRESSED PURPOSE of the flag is an impeccable value that every Liberian should endure when pledging allegiance to the flag and to “the Republic for which it stands”.
This phrase encapsulates the rationale of patriotism and nationalism: what a Liberian is ought to do for this country. Not just by merely pledging allegiance to a piece of textile neatly designed to replicate the value it beholds, but the germaneness and value of the institution it represents — Liberia. That is why flags are considered national symbol – they represent a nation. Diplomatically, flags are nations.
IN LIBERIA, WE OFTEN SEE a complete paradox: Liberians pledge allegiance to the flag but they hold little nationalism for the progress of the state. They engage in conduct that seek to rip-off the state and its people, yet they would often “Pledge allegiance to the flag and to the Republic for which it stands”.
WE ALSO SEE PEOPLE PLEDGE alcaligene to the flag … “one nation, indivisible, with Liberty and justice for all”, yet they would attempt instigating political instability because of selfish reasons and make divisive comments in the media, or we see teachers selling grades to students to make these students incompetent for the future. Why would claim to pledge allegiance to a nation but seek to cripple its future?
ANOTHER FLAG DAY HAS COME AND WE, with deep compunction, think that the nation is swirling along a path of deep social vices. Celebrating these national days should reignite the patriotism our forefathers and founders of the Republic. We should reflect on the kind of nation they envisaged when they pieced together the Flag that we now celebrate today.
IT IS NOT A DAY FOR REVELERS to lavish around the cities with beverages or spirits. There should be forums that would allow influencers and motivators postulate national debates that have the propensity of shifting the thoughts of Liberians and the values this nation MUST uphold.
WE DO THINK THE VALUES that encompasses this nation is slowly eroding, and sadly, it has become the new normal. Very few people care about changing what appears to be a very entrenched “don’t care culture”. And unfortunately, National Days like Flag Day, Unification Day, Independence Day, amongst others, come and go year-in-year-out with no significance of refining the trajectory for the future of our nation. We may sound too pessimistic, but it is the blatant truth that we would not ignore.
ON DAYS LIKE FLAG DAY, we think, every Liberian should reflect on the purpose for which this nation was founded; how our political epoch evolves, the mishaps and misstep, the insurmountable challenges we currently endure and how do we commit ourselves to rebranding our future.
CHARACTERIZING FLAG DAY with grand merrymaking undercuts the true value of the flag. Let us recount the historical and contemporary relevance of our National Flag. This will suggest the value we attached to the Flag and how symbolic is it to our nation. Yes, we can merry-make but only as a means of celebrating the success we have accrued.
NOW THAT WE ARE FRESH OFF THE HEELS of celebrating our 173rd Flag anniversary just like we did with our Independence Anniversary on July 26, policymakers including folks at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Education and the Good Governance Commission, amongst others, must begin to formulate ideas and plans that will promote national discussions during these national holidays. It is their responsibility to organize events that would lead the national discourse and reboot the vigor and sense of nation pride amongst our citizens who are seemingly wary due to the prevailing challenges.
LET FLAG DAY BE A DAY for all Liberians to experience the true sense of the allegiance we pledge whenever we hoist our Flag and exert to promote the interest of “one nation, indivisible with Liberty and justice for all!”