One of the most dignified and self-confident days in American history may have been September 12, 2001. Partisan rancor was dropped in exchange for the hand of a friend across the aisle. The terrorist attacks of September 11th were an assault on every U.S. citizen -- of every color, religion and background. It is fitting that months before the 10th anniversary of 9/11, co-mastermind Osama bin Laden was finally killed, bringing at least a small bit of justice to the families of the fallen.
Nothing was more visible in those heartbreaking days than the stars and stripes of the American flag flying high and low. After September 11, 2001, the flag's significance deepened, as it was planted amid the rubble at Ground Zero and nearly every home flew the flag out their windows and on their lawns.
The visibility of the flag should be no less now as we approach the 10-year anniversary. That's why the Heritage Foundation is promoting a campaign for individuals to raise their American flags in honor of 9/11 heroes as the day comes closer.
The 9/11 project exists as a tribute to the victims and as a promise that we will never forget that day. Additionally, we hope it can serve as a reminder to remain vigilant in the fight to always protect America and provide America's defense with all the tools they need to do so.
As Heritage's Marion Smith wrote,
The ideals of America's founding are timeless. And yet the defense of Freedom is never complete, but requires eternal vigilance. Not only must the cloth and colors of the flag endure, but the liberty it represents must not perish from the earth.
It is important that we not lose sight of those who would destroy what the flag stands for. Remaining a strong world leader for liberty and maintaining necessary defense positions are essential for this.
As Heritage's Matt Mayer writes:
We must not lull ourselves into believing that bin Laden was an anomaly. In terrorist hideouts across the globe, many men with similarly warped views are eager to become the next bin Laden. They know the path to that title lays in successfully attacking us domestically and causing substantial death and destruction.
Terrorism remains a very real threat. America has prevented at least 40 terror plots aimed at the U.S. since 9/11, but that certainly wasn't by accident. The aggressive moves we've made in combating this war against terrorism have saved many lives -- and that is just one more thing the American flag represents.
Sales of flags are skyrocketing to numbers not seen since the days and months just after 9/11. When there are no words, the flag says it all. In it lies the literal fabric of the United States, a tangible item to symbolize the strength and liberty that withstood that horrible day.
As Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said:
I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it's marked by the blood of those who died defending it.
Most people aren't aware of the sacred policy that exists within the carefully written "Flag Code" of the United States. It exists to protect the honor of America's most visible representation. Section 8j says,
The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
The flag code insists we keep our flags in good shape. They are not merely patriotic accessories but sacred emblems of a priceless freedom that is never assured past today.
Raising one's flag to honor and remember 9/11 heroes is a privilege that I hope each and every one of you will take -- not just on that day, but from everyday here on out.
Please check in with us on The Foundry, at Heritage.org and on Facebook and Twitter over the next few weeks. On Twitter, send us pictures of your flag flying by using the hashtag #Flag911 in your tweet to offer your own remembrances and encourage others to join with us.