Op-Ed: Our Leaders Are Dividing the Country - But We Are One Nation Under God


On June 14 we celebrate Flag Day to commemorate the date in 1777 when the Second Continental Congress resolved that “the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field.”

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring the 14th of June Flag Day, and in 1949 Congress passed an act officially establishing the day of commemoration.

It seems meaningful that the U.S. Army celebrates its birthday on the same day. Two years before Congress adopted the new American flag, it established the Continental Army. The military is perhaps our finest institution for building the national identity that the star-spangled banner, our American flag, represents.

We’ve all seen the great World War II movies with young Americans from all around the nation united in one common cause.

There’s the Midwestern farm boy, the wise-cracking kid from Brooklyn, the young man from Virginia whose ancestors fought alongside George Washington, and other assorted characters from all over the country. Maybe they didn’t get along at first — maybe they didn’t even understand each other’s regional accents. But when it came to fighting, they gave everything they had for their country and for each other.

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The U.S. military under the current administration has shown it has other priorities. Rather than building cohesion, a building block of national unity, it gives privilege to differences and encourages a divided nation, typically along lines of race and sexual orientation.

This fact was underscored when an official U.S. Air Force social media account recently posted an illustration of a serviceman saluting the “pride” flag.

This is not the flag that American men and women sign up to serve under, no matter how many U.S. embassies fly it across the world, often in tandem with the Black Lives Matter flag. These are flags that represent particular identity groups; they are sectarian banners.

American servicemen and -women know better than anyone what happens when political forces promote differences. Over the course of the last half-century, sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines have frequently been called on to quell the furies of civil war.

Are our leaders trying to divide the nation?

Americans hit the ground in Lebanon in the 1980s, Somalia in the early ’90s, the former Yugoslavia later in that decade, Iraq in the early 2000s. These brutal conflicts all had the same source — sectarian conflict driven by political leadership that profited from dividing a population.

It’s high time we call our civilian and military leaders to account. By pushing identity politics in our armed forces and in society as a whole, they’re dividing the country. And we’ve seen time and again that that can lead only to tragic consequences.

Remember that our flag stands for one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice, not just for groups supported by political and corporate elites, but for all.

So fly the flag high on Flag Day — fly it high every day. The American flag, our star-spangled banner, represents our unity as individuals, and long may she wave, here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Mary Flynn O’Neill is executive director of America’s Future, Inc., among the nation’s oldest educational nonprofits dedicated to protecting our God-given rights, American values and traditions, and the republic. To learn more, visit