I reminded myself once again Thursday morning that it is about time to replace the flag I hang on the beautiful old light standard on the corner of our lot on special days.

Years of sun and wind have taken their toll, but I still love seeing it, as it grows old with me, on July the Fourth, Nov. 11 Veterans Day and June 14 Flag Day. My climb up the small ladder may be a bit shaky, but I risk it anyway.

I was especially happy to do it on Thursday. No substitute teaching today. Which means that I, a Vietnam veteran, will not be tempted to express my deep anger and frustration when I am told that students are not required to stand for the flag salute. Some power in the school district has declared it is “within their First Amendment rights” to decide to do so. Apparently those rights do not extend to me in a school, because calling a sack of manure what it is would be disrespecting the blatant stupidity of someone who controls my permission to work.

We certainly do not need the pittance of pay I receive, but there are enough “good” students out there to make my efforts still seem worthwhile. But some days I am happy to drive away from the school to go and find America again.

Carl Bryan, Bakersfield