(Photo by Lucas Carter)

A memorial tribute to the colors

American Legion National Chaplain Daniel McClure of Iowa said Sunday that a memorial service usually pays tribute to a person, most often one who has made the ultimate sacrifice for others. Other times, a memorial service commemorates a place of honor, or an event, like a historic battle.

“Today, I’d like to talk about a memorial most people don’t look at as a memorial – the red, white and blue,” McClure said in his message at the 2014 American Legion National Convention Patriotic Service in Charlotte, N.C.

McClure shared with a crowd of hundreds who gathered at the Charlotte Convention Center that “those colors are also biblical.” He explained that blue symbolizes integrity, white a reflection of heaven and red “a color which requires action.”

Around the world and over time, through multiple military conflicts and engagements, the U.S. flag has stood for action on behalf of our nation’s highest values, he explained. “Our country has always been a country of action led by men and women of action,” McClure said to the veterans and their families. “As I look out at this group, I see people of action, who have defended the red, white and blue.”

McClure told the crowd that he was once asked if he would like to go back to Vietnam, where he served as a wartime member of the U.S. Air Force, and witnessed the deaths of many comrades who fought under the colors of our nation. “No,” he said was his succinct response. But if asked to take up arms again in defense of the flag and all it means, “I’d pick up my rifle again … but I don’t have to.”

McClure’s memorial message was delivered in honor of all who died fighting for the red, white and blue and all it means. He recognized The American Legion’s long and continuing effort to pass a constitutional amendment to protect the flag from physical desecration.

“This is our flag,” McClure explained, looking at the flag, which had been presented by the award-winning American Legion Post 472, Houston, Texas, color guard. “This is our country. The legacy it has, we give to our young folks. We are people of action, whether it’s with a Bible or a rifle. If you’re standing for the red, white and blue, you’re standing for the right thing.”

The service included performances by the nationally acclaimed American Military Spouses Choir and by the Grove Singers, a gospel group based in Lexington, N.C.

Memorial wreaths were presented by American Legion National Commander Daniel Dellinger, American Legion National Adjutant Daniel Wheeler, American Legion Auxiliary Nationnal President Nancy Brown-Park, National Auxiliary Secretary Mary “Dubbie” Buckler, Sons of The American Legion National Commander Joseph Gladden, SAL National Adjutant Brian O’Hearne, National Auxiliary Chaplain Shelley Riggs and by McClure.

American Legion Boys Nation President Matthew Ellow of Alabama lit the candles of remembrance as part of the ceremony.