Since Nov 10, 2001

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I am from the greatest city in the world: New York City.

My family was stationed in Chile on 9/11/73 when Salvador Allende was overthrown.

We were stationed in Argentina in the late 70's when Isabella Peron was overthrown and many young people "disappeared".

On August 10, 1989 I was on my way to Boston MacWorld from NYC on a recently converted Trump Air 727 (formerly Eastern Airlines) - The plane couldn't extend the nose gear and we ended up crash landing at Logan.

I saw TWA 800 explode from the beach. There was NO ground launched Missle, no plumes from the coast or land and no man portable SAM would have been able to reach the plane.

I saw everything and survived the WTC attack on 9/11/2001. I was about 2 blocks away (Vesey and West St) when the North Tower collapsed literally on top of me - I'm lucky to have survived. I lost 19 friends that day and spent the next 4 weeks on The Pile.

As a kid I remember the awe I used to have when the WTC was being built. The cranes where so high up - yet my dad never cared for the buildings, he thought they were ugly.

I heard this when I was a kid, many years ago and wrote it down. Over time, I've made some changes here and there and don't have any idea where it originally came from.

  Hello--Remember Me? I'm your Flag. Some folks call me Old Glory, others call me Star and Stripes, the Ensign, or just...the flag. But whatever they call me, I am your flag, and, as I proudly state, The Flag of the United States of America.

Something has been bothering me lately. I was wondering if I might talk it over with you. It's about you and me.

I remember some time ago, I think it was Memorial Day, or maybe it was the 4th of July. People lined up on both sides of the street to watch a parade. When your father saw me coming along, waving in the breeze, he took his hat off and held it against his left shoulder. His hand was directly over his heart. Remember?

And you, I remember you! Standing there -- straight as a soldier. You didn't have a hat on, but you gave the correct salute. They taught you in school to place your hand over your heart. Remember your little sister? Not to be outdone, she was saluting the same as you. I was proud, very proud, as I came down the street. Oh, yes, there were some Servicemen there, standing at attention, giving the military salute. Ladies as well as men. Civilians as well as military, paid me respect...reverence.

Now if I sound a bit conceited...well...I have a right to. I represent the finest country in the world -- the United States of America. More then one aggressive nation has tried to haul me down, only to feel the fury of this freedom loving country. Many of you had to go overseas to defend me. A lot more blood has been shed since those patriotic parades of long ago, and I've had a few stars added since you were a boy, but I'm still the same ole flag.

Dad is gone now...and the hometown has a new look. The last time I came down your street, I noticed that some of the old landmarks had given way to a number of new buildings and homes. Yessir, the old town has changed. I guess I have too, 'cause I don't feel as proud as I did back then.

I see youngsters running and shouting through the street, people selling hot dogs and beer while our national anthem is played...everything from apathy to riots. They don't seem to know or care who I am. Not too long ago, I saw a man take his hat off when I came by...He looked around, didn't see anybody else with theirs he quickly put his back on.

Now when I come down your street, your just stand there with your hands in your pockets. Occasionally, you give me a small glance and look away. When I think of all the places I've been... Normandy, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Battle of the Bulge, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Haiti, Persian Gulf, and Bosnia. I wonder what's happened? I'm still the same ole flag.

How can I be expected to fly high and proud from buildings and homes when within them, there is no thought, love or respect for me? Whatever happened to Patriotism? Your Patriotism? Have you forgotten what I stand for? Have you forgotten all the battlefields where men and women fought and died to keep this nation free? When you salute me, you salute them. Take a look back at the Memorial Honor rolls sometimes. Look at the names of those who never came back. Some of them where friends and relatives of yours... Maybe even went to school with you. That's what you're saluting -- NOT ME!

Well, it won't be long before I come down your street again. So, when you see me, stand straight, and place your hand over your heart. Do this because I represent you. You'll see me wave back, my salute to you.