Saturday, December 09, 2023

Consider the cost of a flag

by Bonnie Johns Gabbard
| June 11, 2010 9:00 PM

Somewhere in an American city, a silver-haired daddy, now stooped and slow, struggles to raise his red, white and blue flag as he has every morning for more than four decades. He makes the last final tug on the rope as he watches Ole Glory start to wave just as it greets another sunrise.

The old man secures the knot that will keep the flag in the air. He pulls himself up to a painful position of attention, and with an arthritic hand, callused from labor, he abruptly salutes his prize. Just before sundown, he will reverse this act of patriotism, lowering this old and faded flag. He will then remove it from its secured position, being careful not to let it touch the ground. He then carefully and methodically folds it tenderly and tucks it under his arm. Now the task of painful steps back to the house where he has a special place he keeps this treasure. He places it alongside the medals that once were pinned on his uniform. If the good Lord allows him another tomorrow, he will faithfully raise his flag again.

Consider the cost of a flag? Well, maybe we should ask this old man the price of his treasured flag.

Let's ask a young Marine's wife, or perhaps a gray-haired mother whose memories go back to the time when a folded flag was taken from the casket of her Marine husband many years ago. It was placed in her hands for safekeeping.

Then again, how about the young soldier we saw on TV waving his flag as he was carried out on a stretcher after scattered shrapnel was embedded throughout his body? He was wounded seriously, but still managed to proudly wave his little flag.

The cost of a flag? Well, you see this flag has been paid for already. The value is not in dollars but bought through the sweat, dirt, bravery, and mixed with the blood of our armed forces through the beaches of Normandy, the jungles of Vietnam, the rice paddies of Korea, and those buried at sea. Those who died and never received a proper funeral in Germany, France, Italy, Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, in the desert, in the water, on the mountains, and wherever they were called to fight for the freedom of others. Oh yes, let us not forget our own shores, like Pearl Harbor, and New York City, Washington, D.C., and the farmland in Pennsylvania.

Oh the cost of an American flag? What price can one put on Freedom? Let every American stand up for this flag, and let people know we consider it a show of disloyalty to the USA, and to the fighting troops, when unruly crowds try to justify their actions and opinions of free speech by trampling her in the ground or setting it afire.

A prized possession is this old flag. Consider what it represents. May God bless America, and may God bless that ragged old flag too!

Bonnie Johns Gabbard is a former Post Falls resident now living in Modesto, Calif. Monday, June 14 is Flag Day.

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