Living Flag

Wed., July 4, 2018

Galatians 5:13 – You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses but serve each other through love.

For me, this photo represents the 4th of July.

It is called The Living Flag. Today, a group of women will represent the American flag in the Witwen parade. They will sing, “You’re a Grand Old Flag” as they stride down the asphalt-covered road for more than a mile. This little blimp of a community goes from about 75 residents to possibly 10,000 people for one day. Proudly, the flag leads the over hour-long parade, followed by the color guard; a few bands; lots of antique tractors and cars; floats and large pieces of agricultural equipment. Lots and lots of candy will scamper across the warm asphalt. Big and little kids stuff bags and pockets with tootsie rolls and suckers.

Meanwhile, the distinct aroma of chicken BBQ lures people for lunch. Tickets are purchased and wagons full of to-go containers exit the serving grounds before the parade is over. Post-parade, lines of people will snake back to the county road where the parade once passed. The wait goes quickly, as people catch-up with a friend they only see once a year.

Armed with a tray of chicken and sides, people sit under broad shade trees and visit with new and old friends. They sit in folding chairs pulled up to wooden tables old enough to vote a couple times over. People select a generous slice of their favorite flavor of homemade pie early. While the last pieces of chicken are served, an afternoon of old-fashioned games commence. Water balloon tosses, three-legged races and a tug-of-war entertain people throughout the afternoon.

The Witwen 4th of July Celebration is about as old-schooled of an Independence Day celebration as you can find. A couple decades ago, television journalist Charles Kuralt deemed this celebration one of the last “real” 4th of July experiences. Little has changed in the last number of decades, except maybe the crowds have grown just a bit larger.

If you live in the United States, how will you celebrate freedom this 4th of July? In what ways will you express appreciation for living in a place where we have endless opportunities? Where your dreams can come true?

No country is perfect. The U.S. has her fair share of challenges. But for a day, let’s celebrate freedom and remember to serve each other in love.

Thank you for freedom, Lord God. As we celebrate freedom today, may we be mindful of freedom’s source, found in Your great love. Amen.

Blessings –


Photo credit: Rich Gruber

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