An Invitation to America: Carry Old Glory with Us

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Blog written by: Caroline Angel

One of America’s most beloved symbols of our freedom and pride in our great nation is the American Flag, our “Old Glory”. Thousands of Great American’s have sacrificed defending what our flag represents, the courage, strength, and values of the American people.  Anyone who has had the honor to carry the American flag, especially to symbolically represent solidarity at a community event, does so with great privilege. Carrying the flag gives you the sense that you are capable of living up to the best in yourself and our Country.

At Team Red, White & Blue, a 111,000 member veteran service organization, we know a lot about what it means to be impassioned by carrying the American Flag.  At nearly every athletic event we attend, we carry the flag with us. Veterans, active duty servicemembers, and civilians come together, united under the banner of Old Glory, to share life enriching experiences that promote health, build genuine relationships, and ignite a sense of purpose. Right now, on a national scale, we are doing just that. Team RWB and presenting sponsor, Microsoft, have partnered together to realize the Old Glory Relay: 62 teams will carry a single American Flag 4,216 miles from Seattle, WA to Tampa, FL to raise awareness and support for veterans transitioning from military service. We know that when we do this it means so much to America. We know that when we do this it uplifts our spirits. We know that when we do this it evokes patriotism in our neighborhoods. Community members salute, offer thanks, give nods of appreciation, clap, take pictures, stop us to shake our hands or offer an exalted “Oorah” or “Woo Hoo!” It is part of our RWB Ethos to bring this kind of inspiration and elevation to our communities. It is part of our Ethos to extend this joy, honor, and opportunity to each and every American.

We also know what impact carrying the flag has had on Team RWB members, and we want to share that with you. Based upon the responses to our recent 2016 survey of Team RWB veterans, active duty military, and civilians, those members of the Team who carry the flag at Team RWB events are 1.7 times more likely to experience increased life enrichment, 1.5 times more likely to feel part of something bigger than themselves, and 1.3 times more likely to feel inspired than those who don’t carry the flag. Veterans who carry the flag are 2.2 times more likely to feel connected to civilians and civilians who carry the flag are 1.3 times more likely to feel connected to veterans.

As we seek unity and belonging at this time in our country, we invite you to come with us on our journey— across America in our Old Glory Relay, or in your local community, carrying the flag in your local 5k or other event.

For connection, camaraderie and support of a United America, please join us—one step at a time—let’s carry our flag together.