So far, there has been no legislative attempt to order that Christmas be celebrated on the Monday closest to Dec. 25. It would also be awkward to decree that Jan. 1, Thanksgiving or the Fourth of July must always fall on Monday.

So these dates haven't been tampered with, yet. But almost all our other holidays have been moved around to create artificial three-day weekends that provide merchants with extra days for sales and the rest of us with extra opportunities for mini-vacations. Generally speaking, the only holidays that haven't been shifted to Mondays yet are the ones we consider of minor importance - like Arbor Day, Groundhog Day, Be Kind to Your Mother-in-Law Day and Flag Day.

If newspapers and broadcasting stations didn't remind us about Flag Day, I'm afraid that most people would give June 14 little thought. This generation considers flag-waving corny and old-fashioned.

We no longer display our flag as proudly as we used to. We don't give it the sincere respect it got from our fathers and grandfathers. In fact, some among us go out of our way to show disrespect for the flag, even to the extent of sewing it into the seat of a pair of jeans.

I used to be angered by things of this kind, but now I just feel soory for people who are too ignorant to know what Old Glory is, or why some of us pause to pay it special homage today.

It was on June 14, 1777 - almost a full year after the signing of the Declaration of Independence - that the Continental Congress agreed on the design for our official national flag.

Thereafter, that flag became a symbol of several concepts of great significance: 13 sovereign states welded into a single liberty for man and boundless freedom for his mind; a political system whose power were derived from the people; one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

In 1777, these were concepts that stirred men to excited discussion. Today, we hardly give them a thought. We just take it for granted that man is free because freedom is man's natural state.

Haven't men always been free - white men, at least?

The answer, obviously, is no. White, black, yellow or whatever their color, men and their minds have spent centuries in bondage. Only in relatively recent times have we achieved even a measure of freedom, and progress has always been won at great cost.

To bring us this far, it was necessary for stout-hearted men and women to risk their lives and their economic security. And many who ran that risk lost everything.

If we are to move our country steadily closer to its goals of liberty and justice for all, our children and our grandchildren will have to take up the burden in their turn.

They will have to be fired with enthusiasm for liberty, equality and justice that served as catalyst in the formation of our nation. But one must wonder whether, in this cynical and hedomistic age, we care enough about preserving the principles of Founding Fathers, and whether we're raising up generations of children and grandchildren who will care enough to carry on when we're gone.