Feature Photo by Jakob Owens

I love Independence Day.

I love the Fourth of July parades. I love all the floats, candy throwing, and marching bands. I love the old classic cars and trucks and the shining red fire engines.

I love the 4-H horse club and the pooper scoopers diligently cleaning up behind. I love the beautiful city royalties. I even love the numerous politicians.

Most of all, I love standing for the Flag.

Photo by Aaron Burden

The Flag leads the parade and it is most always carried by veterans. Growing up it was veterans of the Greatest Generation.

Today, veterans of conflicts past and present march sharply side by side, two flag bearers and two riflemen, carrying the Colors of the United States with dignity, honor and pride.

Everyone stands when the Flag comes by the first time.

There’s confusion, however, as to whether we should stand on subsequent times the Flag passes before us. I’ve been confused in the past as well, though generally I would stand. After some research, I discovered multiple sources indicating during a parade we need only stand for the Flag the first time.

I have observed over the years many veterans tend to stand and render respect every time a regular-size flag passes before them. It may be habit carried over from their military days.

Or it may be they, above all, understand the price that has been paid for those Colors to freely wave.

Photo by Ludovic Gauthier

I invite you this Independence Day to stand proudly when the Flag passes by. When you place your hand over your heart, take a moment to remember what Betsy Ross’ beautiful creation has come to represent.

Photo by David Bodshaug


I encourage you to look around for a veteran to thank. You’ll most likely be able to spot one wearing a military service hat. Or better yet, notice who stands for the Flag and salutes every time it passes by.

Have a great Monday! Thanks for letting me share.

Les Patterson

p.s. Take 13 minutes today as you reflect on the freedoms we celebrate on Independence Day to enjoy our National Anthem performed by the USAF Singing Sergeants and this beautiful video tribute of Because of the Brave performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Les Patterson
I'm a creative storyteller, persuasive advertiser, strategic marketer, and seasoned entrepreneurial B2B sales professional. I'm passionate in believing Scouting changes lives and I'm honored to be an Eagle Scout.

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