The American flag is supposed to be a symbol of what unites us.

But, unfortunately, the symbolism of Old Glory often gets muddled. When patriotism gets conflated with extreme nationalism, the flag becomes a symbol of xenophobia. When people fly the flag with pride while preaching of intolerance, our flag becomes a symbol of bigotry. When the banner itself is held higher in importance than the freedoms for which it stands, our flag becomes a false idol.

I've long believed patriotism doesn't belong only to those who define it by narrow, nationalistic standards. However, those are the folks who usually pop into my mind when I think of people who show their patriotism with a flag. And I'm not alone.

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When U.S. Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn is racing down snowy South Korean mountains in February, you can bet President Donald Trump will be the last person on her mind.

Ahead of the Winter Games this year in Pyeongchang, the 33-year-old gold medalist sat down with CNN's Christina MacFarlane to chat about competing once again for Team USA and the possibility of winning her second gold medal.

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John McCain's emotional, career-encompassing speech will live on for generations to come.

Looking back on a long career, John McCain lands on an important lesson about life.

Months after being diagnosed with brain cancer, John McCain delivered one of the best speeches of his long political career.

The 81-year-old Arizona senator was this year's recipient of the Constitution Center's Liberty Medal, an award given annually to an individual who exemplifies "courage and conviction" and strives "to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe." Recent past recipients include Rep. John Lewis, the Dalai Lama, Malala Yousafzai, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

After being introduced by former Vice President Joe Biden, McCain gave a speech that really needs to be heard by people across the political spectrum.

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A player's quiet protest sparked an important national conversation.

The 49ers quarterback defends his decision to protest during the national anthem.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat huddled on the bench before his team took on the Green Bay Packers in a preseason football game.

As the national anthem played, players on both teams stood to honor the flag. Kaepernick, however, wasn't among them.

This decision — not his electric play that led the team to the Super Bowl just a few seasons back — may very well go down as the defining moment in his career. He seems OK with that.

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