[June 14, 2021] Early this morning, I placed 13 U.S. flags outside my residence before the sun rose above the horizon. I do so because this is not just any Flag Day for me. I encourage everyone to proudly and properly display your U.S. flag on your home, business, church/synagogue, or wherever you can give respect to the flag.
My view is not like so many others. My son and daughter, for example, will be celebrating Flag Day by having a cookout with friends. Good for them. Others will do the same. I cheer them on, so long as they recall why we have such an honored day.
When I look at the U.S. flag, those hung on our city’s streets and hung from buildings throughout my community; I see something different. For some reason, my mind takes me to those times, seeing the flag covering the coffins of the many who gave their lives for our nation and our freedom.
A few days ago, I attended the funeral of a good friend of mine. He was a retired Navy Captain, winner of many awards that he and his men deserved for their action in the Persian Gulf. A three-person detail fired 21 shots at the gravesite – a wartime custom once used to announce that the battlefield had been cleared of the dead and the fighting could resume.
I’ll remember the great times we had together, such as cheering on our respective teams in the Army-Navy football games or finding time to sit and relax to smoke a good cigar. We did not see much of each other these years as our careers demanded more responsibility from both of us. His life was lived with honor and integrity. He was a champion of America, and I’m darn proud of him.
Back to those 13 U.S. flags in my yard. I display 13 flags to honor 13 of my best friends killed in combat since 9/11. I still see their faces, hear their laugh, and miss them dearly. That is no hyperbole. It is real for me, and that is a good thing. I will never forget that I got to meet some of America’s finest heroes only by chance.
These flags will remain standing all this week. As my grandkids come to visit, they will surely ask why all the flags. Wow, do I have some stories to tell.