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Saluting the Sacrifice that Keeps Us Strong

May 29, 2023
John Hairston
John Hairston

Our American flag embodies all that makes our country strong. That star-spangled banner brings to mind the resilient spirit and solid principles on which our forbearers founded our Nation. Its colors radiate tenets the founders defined as the collective cornerstone of a strong republic. Red signifies hardiness and valor; white, purity, and innocence; and blue, vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

Our flag also represents almost inconceivable sacrifice.

Amercian Flag-HWP EastOn Memorial Day, we remember those who lost their lives defending our flag and the freedoms for which it stands. At home and abroad, through courageous service in countless battles, those patriots stood strong until the end against aggressors threatening the ideals our flag inspires. Their sacrifices — and the sacrifices of their families — deserve thanks we can never adequately express.

Flag etiquette directs us to fly our flag at half-staff for a half-day on Memorial Day. At sunrise, we raise the flag to its highest point and then lower to half-staff to honor our fallen heroes who gave all so we as Americans could have so much. At noon, we briskly return our flag to full-staff. That protocol ceremoniously and symbolically illustrates a republic at its strongest point pausing in tribute to those paying the ultimate price to make sure we remain mighty and free.

VA Cemetery-Blx (2023)Because of their sacrifices, we at Hancock Whitney are able to operate as a strong, safe American financial services company anchored in core values akin to the tenets of our democracy:  Honor & Integrity, Strength & Stability, Commitment to Service, Teamwork, and Personal Responsibility. To those who fought and died for America and the people in uniform who have carried on their loyal service, we extend profound appreciation. No degree of gratitude can pay the debt we truly owe them. We can pay homage, however, by honoring the values for which legions sacrificed their lives and our veterans and active duty military have continued to protect.

To many of us, Memorial Day means summer is here. For all of us, Memorial Day should mark a time to reflect on the legacy of sacrifice that allows our flag to fly high. As we commemorate and celebrate this federal holiday, may we all keep in mind what Memorial Day really means and how many liberties we Americans enjoy because of so many sacrifices.

While our country isn’t perfect, America is by far the brightest light in a sometimes troubled world — a place where every person has the opportunity to achieve their dreams. Those we remember on Memorial Day created and defended that opportunity for all of us. They deserve our admiration, appreciation, and respect.