Sunday, June 26, 2011

the Irreplaceable Flag

My husband's dad was a veteran. He served on a submarine during the world war. When he passed away he was given a military funeral complete with flag draped coffin. The flag was given to his current wife, my husband's step-mother. He had hoped that she would give him the flag, but she didn't. She also did not by all accounts take care of this flag. In her behalf she had some difficulties not fully understanding all things as most people do. She eventually was placed in a facility for those with Alzheimer's because of her wandering.

My husband asked about the flag. Sadly, no one knew where that flag was. When her home was cleaned, that flag was not there. The flag that had covered his dad's coffin, was missing, lost.

My husband's dad passed away a few months after we met due to complications of Diabetes. I never really got to meet or know the gentleman. Only through the memories of my husband and his sisters did I learn about him. What I did know, was how badly my husband wished that he could have gotten that flag. Many years passed before I decided to do something.

For a while I had been contributing editorial articles to a local newspaper. I decided that I would mention that flag in one of them. The column that I submitted ran on a Thursday. Sunday morning when I went in to church a gentleman approached me. He had an interesting thing to tell me. Seems that several years before this man's son was at a yard sale. While there he noticed an American flag. Knowing that his dad had a flagpole in his yard he decided to purchase this flag and give it to him. The minute the man saw the flag's size he knew that this was a flag for a military coffin. Knowing he couldn't put it on his flagpole he instead packed it up carefully and stored it in his closet. If I thought that this could be the missing flag he would gladly give it to me. I told him that I would love to see the flag and he promised to bring it the following Sunday.

During that week my prayer was that this would be the flag and that I would be able to recognize it because of the fact that since my husband's step mother had not taken care of the flag and that his sister knew that it had been stained that this flag would carry those tell tale stains.

The minute the gentleman handed me the flag, there they were. Small, but there. I knew, I just knew the minute I had my hands on that flag, I had the right flag.

I had been told how my husband's step-mother had always been happy to help a church and was quick to donate things without thought. Apparently she had donated this flag at some point and it had ended up in this person's yard sale long years later.

I did not tell my truck driving husband I had found the flag. I tried to fold it, almost getting it right, and then purchased a display box for it. Then, I waited.
                                    (I chose this photo out of respect for my husband's privacy)

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