As I watched the terrorists and their many flags storm the capitol, I was horrified. They waved a lot of flags, one of which was the actual American flag. But despite that, my group will still be flying the American flag the next time we camp. Those crazy people don’t change how we feel about flying the American flag. I take it that in some areas, this isn’t the case, so I want to explain this for a minute.
I live in the south. I’ve grown up seeing the confederate flag and understanding who flies that and why. It is a flag that says, “This isn’t really my country. My country is this imaginary place in my head where I am king.” It sends a message about not conforming and not being part of the melting pot of America. People who fly that flag and put an American one beside of it, want to create a false America that melds these views.
However, my group flies the American flag as a way to teach our scouts, “This is your America. It belongs to all of us and it can be a place we are proud of.” As a southerner, I want my scouts to see themselves as Americans. They are not seditionists who want a bizarre confederate version of the country, and they aren’t going to let those people tell them what our country is and isn’t. We fly the American flag to remind our scouts that this country belongs to them, and they belong to it.
As a Virginian, I was very proud my state sent in the National Guard and 200 police officers to help in DC. If you live elsewhere, it might not sound like much. But I watched the seat of the Confederacy send aid to the US Capitol when it was in distress. My state got a chance to say we are going to defend our country, and not be part of some crazy sedition this time. To me, that unity is why my group flies the American flag. Because we are raising our kids to BE part of the country.
If it matters, we like flags. We fly the Virginia flag too on camping trips. We have the only state flag with both a corpse and nudity on it. My scouts are also proud of that. Interestingly, I’ve never seen the Virginia state flag flown beside the confederate flag- even though it is quite striking with the woman, one breast out, standing over the dead king.
Next week, my pathfinders are going to take a bit to discuss nationalism vs. patriotism. We will talk about why we fly the flag, and how it is important to never, ever, let those who would try to say they define America, do that. I believe that talking about today with our youth is important. I am lucky enough, that one of my leaders is a veteran, and he will probably be the one who my scouts will be looking to to help them understand how to be a patriot right now.
Here is a link to teacher resources that you may find useful for talking to your scouts about what happened yesterday.