I am the flag of the United States of America, I was born on July 4th, 1776 and the Declaration of Independence is my birth certificate.

The blood lines of the world run through my veins, for I offer freedom to the oppressed. I stand for many things and many people. I am the nation.

I have fought in every battle of every war, for more than 200 years: Gettysburg, Anzio, Normandy, Guam, Iwo Jima, Korea, Saigon, Granada, Beirut, Panama, in the Persian Gulf… a score of places, long forgotten by all but those who were there with me. I was there, I led my soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen. I follow them, I watch over them — they love me.

When freedom called, I answered and stayed until it was over. I left my heroic dead in Flanders fields, in the oceans of the Pacific and Atlantic, in the steaming jungle of Vietnam, the waters of the Persian Gulf, and the sands of Desert Storm.

I was conceived in freedom and, God willing in freedom I will spend the rest of my days. May I possess always the integrity, the courage, and the strength to keep myself unshackled, to remain the citadel of freedom, and the beacon of strength to the rest of the world. This is my goal, my hope, my prayer.

I have been soiled, burned, torn and trampled on in the streets of countries I have helped set free and, sadly, of my own country. And when it’s by those whom I have given the freedom to express their rights, it hurts… but I shall overcome, for I am strong!

I have slipped the bonds of earth and from my vantage point on the moon, I stand watch over the uncharted new frontiers of space. I have been a silent witness to all of America’s finest hours. But my finest hour comes when I am torn into strips, to be used as bandages for my wounded comrades on the field of battle… when I fly half mast to honor my soldiers, and when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving mother, at the grave side of her fallen son or daughter.