Speaking of the Olympic Games, I've been trying to use it as a lesson for the girls. Not so much the sporting aspect of it, but the patriotic part. I think every child should have a sense of where they're from, and with that should come patriotism. Anytime we watched an American on the gold medal podium, the three of us stood up and put our hands on our hearts when our National Anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," came on. I'm trying to teach and explain to them what makes our country so special. And not only what makes it special, but more importantly, I want to instill in them the respect they need to show to our flag. They know that we put our hands on our heart, and when Bob is in uniform he'll salute the flag. We see it everywhere, even here in Japan on the bases and mililtary housing installations. I'm not sure if Keanna will learn the Pledge of Alligiance when she starts school next week, but I certainly hope so.
I showed them a map of the world along with the different colors and countries. Keanna was excited that we live in a green country because that's her favorite color! Anyway, I told them that each country has their own flag, and since we live in Japan we see the Japanese flag, but we see the American flag too because of Bob's job. Since we're from the United States the American flag is special to us, and because of that we treat it with respect. I didn't get into the fact that there are 50 stars that stand for our 50 states. The 13 stripes stand for the original 13 British colonies, and that in 1776 we gained our independence from England by the signing of the Declaration of Independence; they wanted to govern themselves rather than be ruled by a king. Both of them looked to see what I did when putting my hand on my heart, and I told them to look at me or the people on TV doing it. After the song ended the Olympians would wave to the crowd, and naturally the girls did that too. After all, they did listen to me, I told them to do what they see! By the time Michael Phelps won his eighth gold medal, the girls stopped what they were doing, stood up and put their hands on their heart.
Their father is an officer in the United States Navy. As I said before, we see the American flag every day-at the entry to the bases, outside of people's homes here, and at our house as well. Of course we appreciate our country, rights and freedoms, but being a military family, we have a deeper appreciation and sense of sacrifice than others. This picture is from November 2007 when Bob's sub returned from their deployment. You can see the American flag waving, and the red, white and blue lei that adorns the sub for homecoming. The wives and families were on a small boat and we rode along side the sub as it came up the channel into Pearl Harbor. Bob's on the far left looking through the binoculars.
This website provides guidelines for displaying the American Flag.