Although the United States has experienced its share of trying times, recent events have divided America in frightening and unprecedented ways.
Cities throughout the nation were burned and battered when protests over the death of George Floyd turned into riots, and the American flag was routinely disrespected and burned while statues of historic figures were toppled.
But legendary American astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin shared his quiet and dignified way of continuing to honor the stars and stripes, and the heroes who sacrificed so much.
“Every morning, I rise and hoist my American flag on my balcony,” the Korean War veteran tweeted June 14.
“Old Glory serves as a welcome reminder that we’re always striving to become a more perfect union,” Aldrin added, echoing America’s founding document. “Today and every day, let us remember all the men and women who’ve fought valiantly to defend it.”
Every morning, I rise and hoist my American flag on my balcony. Old Glory serves as a welcome reminder that we’re always striving to become a more perfect union. Today and every day, let us remember all the men and women who’ve fought valiantly to defend it. #flagday2020 pic.twitter.com/nTUx8b3P7x
— Dr. Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) June 14, 2020
His tweet and the accompanying photos of the 90-year-old, with his flag unfurled in front of an ocean view from his Florida home, was posted on Flag Day, a day set aside to honor the patriotic symbol.
Aldrin was one of the first two Americans — first humans, in fact — to set foot on the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969.
On that historic date, the world gathered to watch the televised broadcast of the monumental event as Aldrin, the lunar module pilot, along with mission commander Neil Armstrong, planted an American flag into the lunar dust while command module pilot Michael Collins stayed behind in the spacecraft.
Old Glory was planted on the lunar landscape for all the world to see, representing liberty for all and the great nation which promised it.
The Apollo 11 mission, which brought men to the surface of the moon and back again safely, was one of the greatest achievements in the history of mankind and an impressive feat for the United States, as former President John F. Kennedy had only announced that ambition eight years prior during an address to a joint session of Congress.
But as the world united in awe while witnessing the televised event, back home the astronauts’ country was still deeply divided about U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam.
Many had protested the draft and the premise of the war, and just as today, some of the protesters burned American flags before laws were passed against the practice (though the Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that flag burning was protected under the First Amendment).
What protesters then and now didn’t know or care to know is what Aldrin’s tweet reminds us of — men and women have fought and died for the freedoms that flag represents.
Aldrin may be getting on in years, but his patriotism is as vigorous as the day he helped plant the stars and stripes on the moon.
It is disheartening to see so many people currently denigrating the country and its Founding Fathers, but the inspiring image of a real, live American hero proudly display Old Glory, once again shared for all the world to see, is exactly what America needs — now more than ever.
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