Proudly Display Your Veterans Flag

by : Bill Shayler

I sadly remember the day we buried my father. An American flag covered the coffin before being transported to the cemetery. There it remained during the service. At the end of the service my brother-in-law and I tried our best to remember our own military training while we folded dad's burial flag into a neat triangle and took it home. Each day similar scenes are repeated across America. Our country has many veterans who have sacrificed and suffered for their country. The number is now growing rapidly. The burial flag represents a period of great sacrifice during the life of one American. In the case of my father who was stationed on the USS Curtiss in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1942 he was also present aboard the USS Piedmont in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945 the day the treaty ending the war with Japan was signed. Most of what happened between these events was never talked about. He held the horror and devastation of this period of his life to himself.

I never really understood how he felt until my own service time during the Viet Nam war. It seems I do not like to talk about that time period either. Perhaps the feeling of sacrifice has again surfaced with my son, a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps now serving in Baghdad while his wife and daughters wait and hope here at home.

Before his departure my son and I traveled to Washington DC where he and I stood together in the beautiful new World War II Veterans Memorial, we walked the Viet Nam Wall and through the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

Our national memorials in Washington DC have a direct tie to each of the veterans flags in our homes. Each represents the individuals who have given of themselves for the freedom we enjoy in America.

Your veteran's flag should not be placed in a drawer or closet and forgotten. Display or even fly your veterans flag for all to see. Tell people about this person who gave so much. Cherish your flag as you did the loved one who earned it.

My father's flag is proudly displayed in a case made for the display of burial flags in our home. We have an engraved plate attached with a remembrance of him so our grand children can remember him with the pride we all do, as a family and as Americans.