War and History Non-Fiction posted August 22, 2008 Chapters:  ...23 24 -25- 26... 


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A soldier's pocket flag

A chapter in the book Foxtales From The Front Porch

Folded Red White And Blue

by foxtale

One summer, when I was about eight years old and waiting for a parade to start, I watched as soldiers set up a military reviewing stand nearby. Suddenly a gust of wind blew the flag-stand over the edge, dumping the American flag to the ground. A grizzled U.S. Marine Sergeant rushed over to set the flag-stand back up and reinsert the flagpole. I, as only an eight year old could do, promptly told him the flag had touched the ground and so had to be burned.

"Who says that?" The sergeant barked.

"Teacher says," I nervously replied.

"Listen, kid," the sergeant growled, "I have crawled through sand and mud with a flag tucked in my sweaty shirt pocket. I have seen flags soiled by the smoke and ash of war. I have seen a buddy's flag stained by the tears of his mother when I brought it home to her. So kid, if a flag touches the ground, just brush it off and let it fly with pride until it is too worn out to use anymore. That's the flag code, then you burn it with honor. Now help me set this flag in the stand and you tell teacher she is a jackass."

Well, I did help him with the flag-stand, but I didn't ever tell teacher she was a jackass. And, I've never forgotten what that Marine said that day.

I don't think I truly understood about that sweat-stained pocket flag until just this past September. My son's unit had rolled into Iraq and back here at home a lady from the VFW gave my wife a little folded-up American flag to send to him...
for his pocket.


.jfox.

My son carried more than a flag in his pocket - there were also the five pencils...


Recognized


This was originally published in my home town paper when our National Guard unit shipped out. My son's unit is back home now and I clipped the yellow ribbon from the flag on our front porch and gave it to him upon his arrival at the airport, when I hugged him.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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