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Look at me.

I am your flag.

I am your childhood for I met you there.

You carried me in you first parade..remember...the stars I bore were no brighter than those reflected in your eyes.

I grew up with you.

I am as familiar as apples and the colors of the sunset, I am part of you.

Most of you have traveled with me to worlds you only dreamed of as a child.. Iceland, Japan, Taiwan, Germany.

I was there to greet you when you came.

Some of you have seen me through a blur of tears... in unexpected places and felt the pull of home.

I have been spat upon by some...defiled in ways that hurt us both. This pain is one we share together. Yet, I am here... still strong and true... a symbol of the faith that brought me into being.

Share me with you children. Let them know me too...as you do. Keep me from being just a dream of that which might have been. Teach them to love me for what I am. Show them my faults... for I have many... But show them, my courage and my generosity... my struggle to be fair.

Let them know all of what I represent...a land of opportunity for those who never have had quite enough...a land in need of many kinds of people... a land where workers, dreamers, fighters, doers express in many ways the change they would make to keep me still the emblem of the Free.

It's true I need to know in what ways I am wrong. I also need your faith to keep me strong. One can be criticized if one is loved, You know, and through that criticism, grow.

Help me to be what I have been so many times before...the genie's lamp for some, for some the Golden Door.