In military terms the flag is called the standard, the flag stands for the virtues and ideals of the respective country and when it’s flown all who gaze on it know who and what it represents. In Edmund Leighton’s painting Stitching the standard we see a woman carefully stitching up the torn and tattered flag of her homeland. The look on her face is the face of one who has a deep sense of devotion and a healthy pride in the ideals that the flag represents. I think there is a lot to learn from this painting on the fact that sometimes flags get tattered and torn. High ideals and leading a virtuous life often gets lost in the cloud of civil unrest and societal dysfunction. However, there is always an opportunity to pick up the ragged standard and with great devotion and careful detail sow each line back together. Each of us is born with our own spool of string and a needle to do our part in stitching the standard that so many have given their lives to uphold and protect. When Francis Scott Key watched the attack on Baltimore, it was not merely some tattered cloth that stoically waved amidst the clouds of cannon fire, it was an idea. The idea that all men are created equal, the idea that it is about “We the people” and not about me. The infamous actress Audrey Hepburn laid out the rubric for the American standard perfectly, “It’s that wonderful old-fashioned idea that others come first and you come second. This was the whole ethic by which I was brought up. Others matter more than you do, so ‘don’t fuss, dear; get on with it’.” What are we doing today that is setting a noble standard for those that will come tomorrow? Are we stitching our standard or are we putting holes in it?