Man, that was beautiful.
This is a discussion on Does Our Flag Make A Difference? within the General Prepper and Survival Talk forums, part of the Survivalist, Prepper, Bushcrafter, Forest Rangers category; It was a good lesson. Of course, it was all the more special to me because it was a lesson taught to me by my ...
It was a good lesson.
Of course, it was all the more special to me because it was a lesson taught to me by my father. For you see, those lessons are the best kind.
And it was hot. You could feel the heat ricocheting off the concrete as the police cars drove by with sirens screaming. You could tell the people inside the antique cars were suffering, as they drove their pride and joy that was built before air conditioning. And the farmers driving their tractors?.... well, they got a little relief from what breeze there was since they were perched atop their old tractors. Machines that hark back to a simpler time. Machines that once were the envy of farmers for miles around. Machines that had been painstakingly restored to their former glory and lovingly stored away, only to be brought out for special occasions such as this.
They were followed by the town's only fire truck. The local volunteer fire fighters had spent the better part of two days getting her polished and ready for the 4th of July parade. I loved the trucks bright red paint... you could see your face in it. And the shiny silver carriage holding the long ladders with neatly folded white hoses stacked across the back.... it was the neatest vehicle I had ever seen.
Then came the American flag, flanked by an honor guard from our local 45th Artillery Division. Everyone stood and took off their baseball cap or straw cowboy hat. One by one, the right hand of every man, woman and child moved in rhythm, like a wave slowly moving along the crowd that was hugging the street, until each person's right hand rested on their heart.
Several old men in overalls and some young men in uniform saluted with their right hand against their forehead. Old soldiers remembering; new soldiers bound for duty. But we all saluted. It was a ritual everyone knew. And it happened time and time again, year after year, parade after parade.
I was so impressed with the sense of pride the people in my town seemed to have for the flag. But I wondered why it was so important. What made it such a revered, universal icon for the generations before me? I know it was a symbol for America, but why was it more important than, say, our state flag? We never saluted that! Yet I was just as proud to be an Wiconsinite as I was to be an American!
So, later in the day, after the parade, and after my family had enjoyed the wonderful picnic feast of cold chicken, potato salad, baked beans and homemade ice cream down at the city park, I determined to ask my dad why that flag was so important to everyone. And it turned out to be one of those magical moments between a father and his son.
He said, "Son, that flag tells the story of America. Every time I see it, I think of my heritage and my freedoms- of your heritage and freedoms. I think of our house. It is ours. We can own it because of that flag. And I think of our church, and of all the other churches in here in town. We can go to any of them because of that flag.
"I think about where we live. Your mom and & I choose to live here because we were born and raised here, and it has been our family's home for three generations now. We love it here. But we are free to move anytime. And when you grow up, you can live anywhere you want to in America- as long as that flag waves over every state capitol, hangs in every school room, and is carried in every parade.
"It's a reminder that we are all Americans first. We each share a unity as Americans that is first in importance. Every one of us has an undivided allegiance to be Americans first- even before we are Texans, or Virginians, or Idahoans, or wherever our place of residence may be. That's what the word United in United States means. We have a special duty to understand and preserve and defend our country first, above everything else."
He went on, "And when I see that flag, I think about my father and my grandfather. You see, to be free was just as important to them. I guess I realize that you and I are free partly because of them. Because they served their country as soldiers when it became necessary to devote their time to an interest greater than themselves. It's the same thing we would do if it were ever required of us. And it will be the same for your children and grandchildren.
"The flag tells of great struggles, of people with such valor and courage that the ideals and honor of our country were dearer to them than their own lives. Think about that! Your grandfather was just such a man. He died when your mom was just three years old. He died fighting in a country he had never heard of, against a people he never knew. And he did it willingly, for America. Think about what that means to be willing to give up your life because the freedom of others is threatened. Surely, there can be no greater virtue!"
And then he made it come home so clearly to me. He said, "Son, there is something that you must also understand about being an American. You cannot be saved by the valor and devotion of your ancestors. Duty is required of every generation. If the times ever comes, the hope of America rests upon your willingness to sacrifice and endure the same as those before you have sacrificed and endured. That's what it means to be an American. That's what it means to be patriotic. That's what it means to revere the great names in our history, and to keep them before every generation in our schools and in our government.
"And that's why we doff our hats and salute the flag. In its threads rests the inspirations of a free people. We are standing on the shoulders of giants."
Looking back on it now, I have to admit that I wasn't sure I understood all that my dad told me that afternoon. But I did know this.... it was all of a sudden a lot more important to me that I was an American.
That was 53 years ago. And I still can't watch a parade without standing up and placing my hand on my heart when our flag is carried by.
Prepping is not a destination... it is a journey.
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Man, that was beautiful.
"Reality is almost always wrong."
Dr. Gregory House
Awesome Post @Back Pack Hack
I was 6 years old in the Spring mid 1960's. Baseball signups was that Saturday. I couldn't sleep the night before and was up early that morning, my glove never left my sight let alone my side.
After breakfast, Mom and Dad was so sick of my pestering them to go to the town hall to sign up for Little League they told me to ride my bike and they'd meet me later.
Off I went, my baseball glove tightly slipped into my grip of my bike.
Of course, I arrived a long time before "sign ups" started but I staked my claim.
After what seemed like hours, the town hall opened and I raced in to sign up for baseball! Baseball! The Great American Past Time! Mom an Dad showed up a minute or two later, we lived less than a mile from town hall..but I had to get there early!
Mom still has the picture of me from the local newspaper...Baseball Glove on the table, an ink pen in my hand and The American Flag behind me and a 6 year old Slippy smiling like he had just....well...signed up for Little League Baseball!
Damn shame something like that will never happen again...no parent would let their 6 year old ride his bike to town hall to sign up for baseball on his own.
I remember THAT Day... And The American Flag. Even today...and yet, I forgot what I had for breakfast...
If Mom gives me that picture, I'll post it.
Last edited by Slippy; 05-24-2020 at 04:29 PM.
I still have fond memories of being in that small town in Wisconsin for the parade. My Grandpa and his WWII buddies swapping stories. There would be the tractors, antique cars, and trucks, the hot dogs and the cold Coca Cola. The whole town would rise to their feet when the honor guard passed. Some small towns here in Texas still do the parades and put out the flags along main street, but it's far and few in between. Those days are slipping into the past, sadly.
" All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: Freedom, Justice, Honor, Duty, Mercy, Hope" .Hidden Content
“In Flanders Fields”
by John McCrae, May 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
“We Shall Keep the Faith”
by Moina Michael, November 1918
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.
Peace, the world over,
Although we started off each school day by standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, I never gave the Flag much thought, until the day I fell in love with Her.
It was 1969, and after processing into Vietnam at a huge base called Cam Rahn Bay, I received my unit assignment, and traveled by air to the very top of South Vietnam.
The only thing further north was the country of our enemy, North Vietnam.
The C-130 transport could not land at the base camp that would become my home because the metal PSP airstrip had received enemy rocket fire over night and was not repaired yet.
So we diverted to a Marine base about 4 miles away.
There were 4 of us green replacements, FNG's, Cherry Boys, and we caught a ride in the back of an open Marine truck that was headed to where we needed to be.
I was scared. Very scared. We were deep in Indian Country, and none of us in the back had any weapons at all. Just the driver and his front seater were armed.
That 4 miles seemed like 100.
Finally, we arrived at the sally port into Camp Red Devil, and the VERY FIRST THING that caught my eye was Old Glory flying above the sally port bunker. I KNEW I was safe! What a feeling, indescribable!!
And, that was the day I fell in love with the American Flag. A love that is just as strong today as it was on October 5, 1969.
Since this is Memorial Day, I would like to honor the 514 men of the 1st Infantry Brigade, 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized) that were killed in action in Vietnam between June 1968 and August 1971.
Rest In Peace, my Brothers.
"There is nothing so exhilarating as to be shot at without result." Winston Churchill
"Leave the artillerymen alone, they are an obstinate lot." Napoleon
Member: VFW, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, Society of the 5th Infantry Division, Sons of the American Revolution.