What It Means to be Free

truck, pumpkins, flag

MorgueFile May 2018 1413924415vgvbk

Young Nate had a blast running through the cornfield and picking out pumpkins, but then the little boy saw his Grandpa standing by an American flag next to the field.

“What are you doing, Grandpa?”

“Remembering when I was your age and we kids said the Pledge of Allegiance in front of the flag every morning.”

Nate looked down if he were embarrassed.

“What’s wrong?” Grandpa put his hand on the boy’s shoulder.

The fourth grader looked up at Grandpa. “Some kids at school say we should kneel instead of stand in front of the flag because of racism.”

Grandpa knelt down. “I know that our country has done bad things and we still have problems that need fixing, and if people want to kneel, that’s their right. That’s what makes America free. But it’s never been about what’s wrong with America, but about our ideals, who we are when we’re our best. I’ll always stand. People who forget that will always live in fear. The flag is a reminder of what freedom is, and when you’re free, you’re never afraid.”

The old man was kneeling in front of the flag, but only so he could hug his dear grandson.

I wrote this for Week #37 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

Yesterday was the 17th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks against our nation, and America still carries a lot of collective pain from that day. I wrote a wee fictional tale honoring the victims and those who survived them, so the feelings are still fresh within me.

I wish I had more than 200 words to express what I’m trying to say. I know that there will always be people who will kneel in front of the flag as long as they perceive there being social injustice in this nation. That’s their right as American citizens. That’s what it means to be free. But what I tried to say today echos what I recently wrote in a longer essay a few days back.

Right now, a lot of people are afraid of that guy in the White House. They’re afraid about who will be the next Supreme Court Justice. They’re afraid of a lot of things, real and imagined. But I choose not to live in perpetual fear. Yes, I get scared of things sometimes, but both my identity as an American and my faith in God help me realize that I wasn’t born to be afraid. Isaiah 43:1 says “Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.”

The Almighty was addressing Israel, not the people of the nations, but through faith to the King of Israel and by his merit, the rest of us can also be called children of God. Presidents are temporary. God is everlasting. If you don’t believe, that’s fine. We all negotiate our relationship with the Creator in different ways. I’m just glad I live in a country where people are free, both to kneel in front of the flag and to pray to and have faith in God. It’s the same country, and it’s the same freedom.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

P.S. Don’t forget to contribute your own story to Roger’s linkup. Thanks.

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The True Origin of Captain America

will smith captain america

Actor Will Smith depicted as Captain America

“You must be the puniest nigger I’ve ever seen, boy. What’s your name again?”

“Johnson, Samuel G., Private, Sir.”

Sam Johnson was the most unlikely soldier in his unit, but then again, he would have been an unlikely soldier in any army in the world. He’d suffered from a number of ailments in childhood including rheumatic fever. His family was poor. Papa died when he was only a baby and Mama had to work three jobs just to keep him fed. They had no money for doctors and his old Aunt Bessie said it was only Mama’s love that kept him alive.

He grew up but not very much. He was tall, but thin, his clothes fitting him like loose blankets. Because of his ill-health, he wasn’t fit for much hard work, but what he lacked in muscle, he made up for in heart and determination.

Like most colored folk, he expected the white folk to call him “nigger,” “coon,” and the like, and he took more than his fair share of beatings, not just because he was a colored man, but because he fought back. To say he fought back meant that he had the will, but he could no more throw a solid punch than Josephine Baker could win the Miss America Pagent.

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Redefining Reality

Trump

Donald Trump on season 13 of the All Star Celebrity Apprentice live finale – Getty Images

Michael Flynn's lawyers have told other defense lawyers in the ongoing Russia probe, including President Donald Trump's legal team, that they're no longer able to share information, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

“What channel is this, Johnny?”

“CNN, dear.”

“Can we change to something else? I’ve seen this already.”

“Sure, Mandy.”

John Norton picked up the remote from where he’d laid it near his crotch, pointed the device at the new 55″ Samsung they’d fought long and hard for at Wal-Mart’s Black Friday sale last week, and pressed a button.

Trump criticized the NFL for the third time this week -- Friday's tweet took aim at the players and commissioner Roger Goodell. Trump wrote that Goodell has lost control and added that "players are the boss."

“Really, Johnny. Isn’t there anything else on?”

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Expendable

arena

Yokohama main arena courtesy of Yokohama.com

Decades of dispute between the two empires of Queen Rhoda and King Jon finally erupted into open warfare. Each ruler wanted to reign as supreme leader over the people of the Great Continent. They didn’t particularly care how they achieved their goal or how many had to suffer and die in the service of their ambition.

Each marshaled vast armies at their mutual border and targeted the other’s strongholds with weapons of mass destruction. The war, the great war of conquest would claim the lives of hundreds of millions. Both Queen Rhoda and King Jon were supremely confident in their abilities to send out their forces to battle and to win. Each were seated on their thrones in fortified bunkers awaiting the beginning of the first and last battle of the final war. After all, armies are expendable, sovereigns are not.

Rhoda grinned with evil intent imagining her troops and battalions smashing Jon’s fortifications and capturing him. She wanted the honor of slitting his throat with her own hand and then drinking his blood.

Jon had similar plans for the accursed Rhoda, though his personally violating the Virgin Queen’s body would proceed her slow torture and death.

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