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In February of 1945 Joe Rosenthal pulled out his camera and clicked a photo that would later become the most reproduced photograph in the history of photography: Five young Marines planting the American flag on the island of Iwo Jima. The photo of these young men raising the flag was splashed across the front page of every paper in the country, and for months papers republished the photo. Newspapers were saved, posters were purchased, the photo appeared everywhere, people could not get enough of the photo.

Why is that? Why did people become so emotionally connected to this image of the flag? Why is it that even today, we as Americans are taken back every time we see the photo of these men struggling with the stars and strips? Our flag, though it is a piece of fabric, our flag, though it has no power on its own, our flag, though it is only a material object, even though our flag is only a flag, our flag, the banner of the United State of America IS one of the most powerful symbols in the world today.

It represents freedom. It represents the removal of tyranny from our lives. It represents hope. We see our flag and we know what a blessing we have been given to be citizens of this country. Others look at our flag and dream of a better life, they dream of a freedom that might one day be theirs.

Throughout our history, men and women have willingly laid down their lives defending it. Today men and women are deployed around the globe with the pledge to defend and preserve our flag. Even our children start their school day with a pledge of allegiance to our flag.

Let us not forget that our national anthem also pays honor to our flag. There is not a day that goes by that somewhere in our nation the Star Spangled Banner is sung and many times, by the last line, there is not a dry eye in the crowed. We stand together, our hands over our hearts and we sing about a raging battle where finally in the dawns early light, our flag, high above the fray, was still there….the impossible happened, we held out, we fought the fight, we persevered and our hope is assured. Surely God had preserved us.

Our flag is just a flag, but it is so much more is it not? Here in our passage, Moses' staff is just a staff, but it is so much more – and let us be clear at the outset: The staff of Moses is not just a symbol, it is a representation that God is with His people, He will be with them and even in the most dire circumstances, they will prevail.

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