I used to know Denair as a small town where I would go to visit an old friend who showed sheep. Just a small town, not too much going on, but a pleasant Central Valley community.
Now when I think of Denair — along with everyone else around the country — I think about a 13-year-old boy who stood up for his country and brought people together from all over the United States to remember what our flag stands for.
Between the down economy and the pressures of daily life, most people forget about the challenges our country has gone through and the people who died for our freedom.
But Cody Aliceas never forgot. He flew his American flag proudly on the back of his bicycle. His patriotic spirit was inspired by his planned visit to Washington D.C. to see firsthand how our country came to be.
And because of Cody’s patriotism, Americans have once again come together to sport their red, white and blue to honor our country’s great achievements.
Cody’s display of American pride was cut short when he was asked to remove the American flag from his bike by a Denair Middle School campus supervisor because it might be creating “racial tension” and there were concerns for his safety. The ban of the American flag has spurred up national coverage, raised questions about first amendment rights and brought forth conversations about racial sensitivity.
Since Friday I have received calls from active duty Marines in San Diego, a person from Moreno Valley, Calif. and concerned Americans in Goodlettsville, Tenn. and Florida. All of whom were in support of Cody’s patriotism. All of whom were concerned that many Americans forgot what our flag stands for — the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Some were against the school district’s decision to ask Cody to take his flag down – then reverse that decision. Some were concerned with the bullies who threatened Cody for waving his American flag on American soil. Some just wanted some American spirit to be shown again.
Well there was definitely American spirit on Monday morning flowing down Main Street in Denair to escort Cody to school. There were people from all ages and backgrounds there to support the patriotism that Cody showed that day he was asked to remove his flag.
Veterans, grandmothers, grandfathers, parents, students, and community members all waved their American flags high and proud while Cody led the way to Denair Middle School that morning.
There was not a soul in sight who wasn’t proudly shedding tears in support of their country as hundreds of people sang “God Bless America” and said the Pledge of Allegiance at the flag pole in front of Denair Middle.
What could have been an angry mob of people who felt threatened by outsiders who took Cody’s rights away transformed into a tribute to America following in Cody’s patriotic footsteps.
Even though the district has apologized for the incident, I think it is a blessing in disguise. I think we forgot about our country and what it felt like to come together as Americans. We are so wrapped up in our daily obstacles and duties we forget to look at the bigger picture.
We are Americans. We are indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Cody reminded us of that the day he flew his American flag on his bike on his way to school.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.