My Flag Day speech

Thank you, Mike Sabbagh and the City of Snellville for inviting me to speak at this event. 

Today, I am going to share with you something close to my heart as a veteran, the significance of our flag and what it means to be an American.

In the words of General Douglas MacArthur “DUTY HONOR COUNTRY — those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.”

These words, which symbolize our civic responsibilities to each other, immediately come to mind when I see our flag.  These words were instilled in me at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and these words later guided me during my military service to our country, and to this day.  Soldiers, sailors, and airmen live and die by these three words.  

But you don't have to be a soldier or a decorated general to abide duty, honor, and country.  When we look upon the flag on a special day like today, we can reflect on how to incorporate the ideals of DUTY HONOR and COUNTRY into our own lives.  

DUTY, the responsibility for each of us to act with compassion and fairness toward each other, continues to be critical in our diverse society.    

HONOR, speaking truthfully, acting with integrity, and doing what is right, regardless of consequences.  And, we all know, doing what is right is not always convenient or popular. It can be downright difficult.    

COUNTRY, caring for our country by being an engaged citizen. It's about making the effort to vote in every election, to serve those in need, and to defend our shared ideals such as limited government, liberty, equality, and the rule of law. 

On FLAG DAY, we must remember the sacrifices our military has made and continues to make in defense of our country so we are able to pursue the American Dream.  And, what better day than today, FLAG DAY, to recommit ourselves to the ideals of DUTY HONOR COUNTRY.

DUTY HONOR COUNTRY are values that I hope will inspire you to stand up for what you know is right in the course of your daily lives.  

We are living in uncertain and unpredictable times. In times like this, we must not forget what makes us Americans.  As President Ronald Reagan recognized, “America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.”To preserve this shining beacon, it is our duty to seek out injustice, to defend democracy, and to make this world a brighter place, as so many soldiers, sailors, and airmen have done and continue to do.  

We must embody DUTY HONOR COUNTRY and we must fight for those ideals so that the sacrifices of our military are not made in vain.  

We owe them that commitment, we owe ourselves that commitment, and we owe our country that commitment.      

Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the U.S.A.

Miko Dougherty