GUEST OPINION - What's missing in the picture?

Thursday, October 4, 2001

Merchants are selling flags faster than they can replenish their supply.

America is in a flag frenzy Flags are waving everywhere - large ones and small, expensive and inexpensive. They can be seen on buildings, coat lapels,

football helmets and backpacks.

Patriotism is back after a long absence. Flag burning is in remission in our nation's life. This is the result of a hell-like barbarous murdering of thousands by terrorists who gave our nation another date of infamy to put on its calendar - Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

Can good things be salvaged from that terrible hour? Body bags force us to ask, "Where can goodness be found?"

An amazing list of good things has suddenly appeared on the scene. Patriotism leads the list, followed by hastily planned church services with "Easter Sunday" like crowds in attendance lifting prayers heaven-ward seeking God's help. Concern for others is back. Unity has replaced disunity in our nation's lifestyle and is being dramatically demonstrated in the halls of Congress by Democrats and Republicans pounding each other on their backs and pledging to support the President in whatever the Nation needs. "God Bless America, Land That I Love -Stand Beside Her and Guide Her" is our pro-tem National Anthem for a few weeks.

It's too good to be true! Our dependable home-style prophets are assuring us we will soon "get back to normal." Some of us are afraid this will happen.

Dare we ask, with flag waving patriotism, turning to God for help, concern for others, beautiful unity replacing ugly disunity - who want to go back to what was normal in our nation's lifestyle on Monday, September 10, 2001?

Haven't the last few weeks convinced us we are capable of better things - more like the "Creator" had in mind?

The experiences through which we are now passing suggest we need another flag and this is an opportune time to do something about it. Our nation should be grateful to President Bush and Secretary of State of Powell for leading us in understanding, "It's the world against terrorists - it's a world struggle between good and evil." The President in a single day recruited an impressive list of nations of good-will who are ready to join us as supporters in a crusade against the insanity of terrorism.

What's missing in the picture? We need a "World Flag" as we close ranks and join together in the struggle against an enemy threatening humanity. A World Flag would serve a double purpose. It would let those who haven't learned how to live a decent life respecting world citizens know there is no place for their kind on Earth. Its second purpose would be to strengthen those who have the global concept in their understanding. A World Flag would be a symbol of the unity needed in building a world community. President Bush and Colin Powell have declared the need to be one world is now and they warn us - to delay could be deadly.

How meaningful to have the "Stars and Stripes" and a World Flag flying together from the same pole! Could it be the events of the first year in the 21st Century are telling us we need the two carried side-by-side in our parades and gracing our podiums? We should not overlook the role a "World Flag" could have in explaining to children born in the new century that they are double citizens - citizens of the world and of the greatest nation on Earth! This is a

concept older generations

have had forced on them by

a recent encounter with


Betsy Ross, we need you back to design a World Flag for the 21st century. It's message - to remind us no nation can live in isolation.

The Bible gives its readers a report on a discussion Paul had in the city square in Athens 20 centuries ago. He reminded his listeners, "God has made of one blood all nations and

scattered them over the face of the Earth." God Bless America in its effort to understand this with its implications and to lead other nations to do


September 11, 2001, is telling us we really have no other choice.

Clarence C. Richardson is a retired Storm Lake pastor and a frequent contributor to the Pilot-Tribune.