Yesterday, I drove to Grand Coulee, Washington, to attend the annual Memorial Day flag ceremony at the local cemetery, along with a significant number of family members, including my stepmother, Edith Lael, aunts Donna and Wanna, brother Jerry and wife Anna, and their children, Jerome, Chyanne and Sydney, my sister Sally (she of the London/Paris jaunt) and her husband, Jim. Other friends and family members were there, too.
Arriving at the cemetery, we were greeted with the stirring sight of hundreds of flags, waving brilliantly against a deep blue sky. Each one represents a veteran, and there were a few Canadian flags, too. A military color guard presented the flag, and Boy Scouts demonstrated the proper folding of Old Glory, while a narrator gave the meaning of each fold.
Dad’s flag was being dedicated, so we all gathered when our turn came, standing under it and remembering our own dear soldier. Dad served in World War 2, in the Pacific. He was a Marine, among the landing forces at Iwo Jima, riding ashore on an amphibious tractor. Quite a feat, considering he couldn’t swim and people were being shot all around him.
He always said, “Freedom isn’t free.” His generation paid a high price for our way of life, as have soldiers before and after–and right now.
If you see a soldier, tell him or her ‘thank you’, if only in the quiet of your heart. We owe them so much.