I grew up in a small town called Graham, Washington. Seemed like pretty much in the middle of nowhere. And it was at the time. I moved there when I was 8 years old, and I remember all those memories as if they were yesterday.

I grew up knowing that I would do something with my life and make a difference. In some respects, I have already, but I know that my story is not done either. I know that there is a whole lot of life ahead of me.

I was a smart kid that worked hard and played hard. I loved school, and I think all my teachers liked me. I didn’t want to be the “teacher’s pet,” but I also wasn’t going to sit by and let the rebels control everything. Funny thing about that, is that the polarity of those two axioms leads you to a fairly lonely middle. I felt alone as a kid on my soap box, fiercely loyal to the denotative meaning and difference between right and wrong. People can be really unfair sometimes, you know? I learned quickly though that I maybe wouldn’t make that many friends in the popular crowd. I wasn’t that guy. I prided myself in having or knowing where to get the answers. Funny thing though, the more I learned, the more I realized that I actually didn’t know much. Life can be pretty brutal in that way of explaining things. Or sometimes there just is no explanation.

I’m not a fan of banners. Except maybe the American flag. Just because of what it’s supposed to stand for. Because of the people that I know who serve that flag, and the sacrifices they’re willing to make for it. I grew up believing that I would too, serve that flag one day, and even though that wasn’t possible to the extent that I had planned because God had and has other plans for me, that’s okay. Do not be mistaken though, the flag deserves respect, where “one nation under God” rings in the halls of our leaders.

I will stand up for the national anthem, and hold my hand over my heart, even though that same flag has been placed and done things that I am not proud of. Even though in some places in the world, wearing a flag on my shoulder would mean a death sentence. But that’s not something that I’m unfamiliar with, being a Christian. So I’ll wear my american flags and salute it with respect – it’s not my God, and if you want to burn the flag in front of me, feel free to do so as that’s your right. But don’t ask me to stand behind you, because I won’t anymore than you will change my mind by using disparaging terms about Jesus. It’s okay. I can handle it. The real question is, can you?

Because at the end of the day, we all bleed the same blood. That is unmistakable. More people need to remember that, so that our humanity can return. So that we can stand up together and work together through the hard things that push us together, or apart.

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