Editor’s note: Noah Kutz, one of our young writers, turned a feature-story assignment into an opportunity for personal introspection. When he graduates from the ASU Naval ROTC scholarship program in two years, he will enter the final stages of the United States Marine Corps officer training program.
By Noah Kutz
A man walks out into the brisk morning air, bearing a tightly folded flag close to his chest as the sun rises, radiating warmth and light into the cool atmosphere.
He stops at the base of the flagpole just outside the Kyrene School District headquarters and carefully unfolds the banner, attaching it to the rope and raising it.
Walking a few steps away, the man turns to face the flag and brings his hand into a salute, becoming statue-like for several moments before completing the gesture.
While returning to the office, he glances back at the flag as it billows gently in the breeze to ensure his work is properly arranged.
Victor Feliberty, an Army veteran and building manager for the Kyrene district office, repeats this ritual twice a day, morning and evening, during the week.
But why does he do it, and what does it mean to him?
“That flag means this nation,” says Feliberty. “It’s a group of people with different ideas…but it’s united. And when it’s united we’re supposed to share ideas and efforts.”
He says that every person, no matter who they are, will encounter bad days. But even on those bad days the flag goes up because it represents life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness—and the people who stand united by those ideals.
Feliberty emigrated from Puerto Rico to the U.S. in 1974 and quickly enlisted to become an Army paratrooper. According to him, raising and saluting the American flag every day represents both a privilege and a blessing.
The poem “Old Glory” captivates its readers by giving them a new perspective on patriotism. It personifies the American flag, telling a story from “her” own perspective, giving people a deeper and more relatable connotation to liberty and freedom.
An excerpt from this poem states, “Lest you forget – I am proud – my name is ‘Old Glory’ – long may I wave, dear God, long may I wave.”
The purpose of this is to trigger Americans to think critically about what the flag symbolizes, especially before they begin to worship it or burn it.
This is why people like Victor Feliberty respect the flag of America so much. Not only do they recognize the powerful meaning behind it and behind the foundation of America, but they also recognize and understand the price for freedom. Their comrades fought, bled and died on the battlefield defending the ideologies and the people which the Star-Spangled Banner represents.
Those who suffered for the price of freedom returned home to their grieving families underneath that flag.
This same flag flies high above our schools, capitals, office buildings and homes. Therefore, when you see it as you walk into your next place of business, take a moment to reflect on this grand old flag which is intricately woven with the memories of the fallen, and ideologies of freedom.
Her name is “Old Glory.” Long may she wave.