Since the 50’s the Mormon Church Leaders have encouraged Mormon families to set aside Monday nights as a Family Night. Monday nights are called Family Home Evening, we turn down outside commitments and spend the night at home with our family. We can read, pray, hold family meetings, sing, or do other fun family activities. In my family, Monday nights has to include a song, prayer, lesson, game, and treat. Because my family is very patriotic, we also have another tradition: The Flag Ceremony. The girls act as a color guard and we have The Pledge of Allegiance, and afterward we sing “She’s a Grand Old Flag“. It is really fun to watch the girls march around the family room with their flags every Monday night. Come on over and see what I mean.
This flag tradition started when I was a child. My parents were patriotic. Much like most people in this country, my great-grandparents, on both sides, were immigrants. My mom and dad started the flag thing during family home evening when we were kids and it slowly escalated into a full-blown production. We had a very long hallway in our house (all those kids + all those bedrooms = that long hallway) After, the flag ceremony, we would all march up and down the hall singing, “She’s a grand old flag”. After a while, my brothers got bored of just marching and they decided to surprise my parents, who always waited in the family room until we all decided to come back.
One night, my oldest brothers encouraged us younger kids to find a creative object from the bedrooms and to put it on top of our heads. Like in The Sound of Music, we always lined up, oldest to youngest. Of course, we did as we were told. We all got our objects, lined up in the hall, and marched out to the delightful surprise of mom and dad.
The objects started out: shirts, blankets, hats, toys. But the longer this game went on (which was quite some time) the objects got much more creative: underwear, laundry baskets, furniture, wastebaskets. (You get the picture) Looking back on this, we probably didn’t display the most reverence for the flag, but through this simple consistent tradition, my brother and sisters and I all formed a great love of the flag and of our mighty country.
Last summer, I was the Assistant Director, of the Knoxville Cumberland Stake’s Girls’ Camp. The Director was a good frined of mine and we worked REALLY hard at preparing a rememberable camp for the 100 girls that would attend this week-long camp at Pickett State Park.
One item of business that was especially important to me was the Flag Raising and Lowering. After reading my family’s history with the flag this won’t come as a surprise to you. My friend also knew of my love for America’s flag, but she didn’t seem to share my sentiment. I have been a leader for The Boy Scouts of America, and so I have witnessed how boys were taught about the flag. I felt like this camp was a rare opportunity to bring the girls up to speed.
Well, as the camp went on, it became more and more obvious that teaching the girls how to handle the flag was not a priority. I tried not to get frustrated as I wasn’t in charge, my friend was. One day, toward the end of camp, we were sitting together during a cheap attempt at a flag raising. I said to her, “What is the deal? Why don’t you care about this flag stuff?” She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Hello, I’m Canadian!”
Both of us just cracked up. I had forgotten that she was Canadian born. She is so “American”. When dealing with 100 teenage girls for a week, it is needless to say that this small bit of humor provided us with just 15 seconds of much needed laughter.
Moral of the story: Unless you are talking to Tom Brokaw, don’t expect your Canadian friends to love the flag as much as you do, and don’t try to have flag raising ceremonies with a Native Canadian leader.