Dear Ann Landers: A few years ago, a sergeant stationed in Germany wrote and asked you to reprint a poem he'd read in your column in Stars and Stripes, the armed forces newspaper. The poem was about our flag and how we shouldn't take it for granted. The sergeant said it should be printed at least once a year.

Since the Persian Gulf War, patriotism seems to be in fashion again. But just to remind people of how things used to be, would you consider printing this poem once more for those who didn't see it the first time? Thanks, Ann. - Faithful Reader in Illinois

Dear Reader: Thanks for asking. Your timing couldn't have been better. Did you know that today is Flag Day? Remember Me?Some people call me Old Glory, others call me the Star Spangled Banner, but whatever they call me, I am your flag, the flag of the United States of America.

I remember some time ago people lined up on both sides of the street to watch the parade and naturally, I was always there, proudly waving in the breeze.

When your daddy saw me coming, he immediately removed his hat and placed it over his heart. Remember? And you, I remember you standing there straight as a soldier. You didn't have a hat but you were giving the right salute.

What happened? I'm still the same old flag. Oh, I have added a few more stars since you were a boy, and a lot more blood has been shed since those parades of long ago. But I don't feel as proud as I used to. When I come down your street, you just stand there with your hands in your pockets. I may get a small glance but then you look away.

I see the children running around and shouting. They don't seem to know who I am. I saw one man take off his hat and look around. He didn't see anybody else with his hat off so he quickly put his back on. Is it a sin to be patriotic? Have you forgotten what I stand for and where I've been? Anzio, Normandy, Omaha Beach, Guadalcanal, Korea and Vietnam.

Take a look at the memorial honor rolls some time. Look at the names of those who never came back in order to keep this republic free. One nation under God. When you salute me, you are actually saluting them.

Well, it won't be long until I'll be coming down your street again. So, when you see me, stand straight, place your right hand over your heart. I'll salute you by waving back. And I'll know that you remembered.\ Dear Ann Landers: I love your Gems of the Day and have often thought that I would like to contribute one. I'm not sure the enclosed qualifies, but I am sending it anyway. - J.R.D. in West Palm Beach

Dear J.R.D. in W.P.B.: You bet it qualifies. Thanks for sending it.

Those who believe great things are accomplished only by the young would do well to keep the following in mind:

George Bernard Shaw won the Nobel Prize when he was 69.

Golda Meir was 71 when she became prime minister of Israel.

Jessica Tandy was 80 when she won her first Oscar for ``Driving Miss Daisy.'

Benjamin Franklin was one of the authors of the Constitution when he was 81.

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