by: Mary Joseph
“Mary, follow me.”
“What did I do now?” I quipped back.
We filed through the office, out the front door and across the front lawn to the flag poles. Paul pulled a small rectangle box out from under his arm and handed it to me. My eyes watched solemnly as his fingers unwound the rope then wandered up the pole to watch the Blue Star Flag slowly lower. I caught before it touched the ground and draped it over my left arm.
It was 4 pm.
Harry was to get the new one being raised today in 30 days. His son, Jason, deployed to Iraq six months after mine. In another 30 days another employee who has two sons alternately rotating into war zones will get that one.
Ceremoniously, we stepped over to the pole that flew the American Flag. Once again Paul’s fingers unwound the rope and lowered the flag completely. He then raised it to half mast.
I remembered 9/11.
We all remember where we were as we watched the twins towers fall.
“I’ll go over and fight that,” my son Matthew said with a stern, bold tone unlike any I have ever heard come out of him. He was not yet Army.
I remembered the little boy who came home in tears when the Challenger blew up. I remembered the day I wore his parade boots to shovel snow in.
I had to go hide my tears. I was told not to cry at work anymore.
That same full size Blue Star Flag is proudly displayed in the back window of my car every time my son deploys.
September 11, 2008
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