*My grandfatherís flag*
By: Hayseed
25 April 2005

This is a true story and it may sound hokey to some of you, but it really made me proud to think of what it would have meant to my Grandfather. Iím new to the Rubicon and this is my first chance to really tell this story.

On September 11th, 2001 right after watching the carnage unfold on CNN and noticing the lines at the gas station were getting backed up out of panic, something sparked inside of me. I believe it was an overwhelming sense of Patriotism and unbearable rage that we had somehow been caught with our pants down. I still canít comprehend the kind of hate that it took for someone, some crazed lunatic, to go to such extremes. I guess I just donít let myself feel that kind of hate. Until I watched my countryís buildings tumble and saw our Pentagon burn.

My Grandfather always had sore feet. He would get out of his chair and his first few steps always put a grimace on his face. He had received two purple hearts in the Battle of the Bulge and twice my Grandmother had received letters from our government saying that he was "missing". My grandmother read these letters while caring for two small girls. I canít imagine how that felt. When my grandmother passed on and the family was dividing up her belongings I somehow ended up with the flag that draped my grandfatherís casket several years before. I remembered how the military graveside service had made my few tears turn into a gusher.

I work with my father in a family owned business and after several hours of watching the events unfold on CNN, we all went back to work. But first I had to run home (itís just across the street from our business). As if someone else were guiding me I walked into the house, gave the dog a hug, and went to the table that sits in my bay window of my living room and opened the drawer. There on top of my CD collection and some old pictures was my Grandfatherís flag. I got it and headed back to work. Now, one of our buildings is an old train depot. It still looks pretty much the way it did 100 years ago and itís pretty cool looking; every once in a while we catch someone taking a picture of it (my fatherís always a little flattered by that!).

Anyway, I took the flag to "the boys" that work for us and told them to hang it on the end of the depot. I thought itíd look pretty good there since it can be seen from Main Street and the backdrop to it is the flag flying from the grain mill in the background. I thought my Grandfather would be proud, as a matter of fact Iím not so sure it wasnít he who guided me to put it there. That flag hung on the end of that building for a full year. 100% cotton hung outdoors for that long fades and doesnít wear very well. But on the one year anniversary I took it down and replace it with another one. The new oneís have since been polyester and wear better than the original. The old one got refolded and put back in the same drawer I took it out of, itís a bit tattered, but it served itís purpose as it was all I had at the time.

I think about my grandfatherís war and his sore feet often. I also remember how scared my family was when my father was in the Army, scared that he would be shipped to Vietnam; and the relief that came when he was fortunate enough to remain in the states. I appreciate all that our current generation of military is willingly sacrificing for the rest of us and pray for them daily. Weíre all anxious for peace to return, but I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who said "The way to feel safe is never to feel secure." Thatís something we all need to remember.

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