From: Elaine Slater Reese
Spring Green, Wis.
June 14, 2018 – it’s Flag Day again. How did you celebrate last year or the year before? What is your most memorable memory of that special day? What were you taught about it? What have you taught your children? I truly don’t remember much until the Vietnam War. That was when the first person I knew who had been in the military was shipped home in a box. I saw what it did to his family and to our small community. It was my first close brush to death. I didn’t understand it. He hadn’t been sick. He wasn’t killed in some hideous accident. He was young; his whole life was before him. Then some enemy he had never met, never talked to, snuffed that all out in a moment. He died, and for what?
Then I had three boys. Sometimes I would stand by their beds at night as they slept peacefully. I remember always praying, “Oh, dear God, please don’t them go to war.” But reality finally hit. How many other mothers had prayed the same for their children? How many of those children were shipped home in one of those hideous boxes?
Sometimes on the news I see caskets draped with an American flag being taken from airplanes to waiting hearses. And now I understand that the flag is not simply a piece or red, white, or blue material or plastic. It doesn’t matter if it is a large one that costs hundreds of dollars or one a small child can wave. It means blood has been shed, lives have been sacrificed, and families devastated so that we can proudly say, “I am an American!”