Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Flying the Flag
Just a short eleven years ago...you certainly remember where you were, what you were doing, how you found out.
I thought today was as good a day as any to share a bit about my most recent trip to the East Coast. It was a hugely patriotic trip and quite emotional. I traveled with ten members of my immediate family for a Memorial Service at Fort Meade, Maryland in honor of my Uncle and nine other navy officers who crash landed in the China Sea 40 years ago. 40 YEARS AGO!
In a nutshell, my Uncle served as a cryptologist for the U.S. Navy in the Vietnam era, which was a top secret ranking and whose missions were highly classified. When his plane went down, there was little to no information given to my family in regard to the nature of his death. The Navy didn't even offer a Memorial Service for him or the rest of the crew members...until now.
After 40 years, my 93 year old Grandfather was finally given an American Flag, in honor of the service of his first born son.
I didn't know my Uncle so his death has never resonated with me the same way it has with my Mother, who was close to him. I didn't know anyone lost eleven years ago when the Pentagon was struck, when the twin towers collapsed or when the plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field. But, I know that the unexpected, tragic demise of a loved one never leaves the family and everyone in their midst is impacted in one way or another.
While we were back east for the service, we made the most of our time there and bounced around to the historical sites.
Being back east always re-kindles my love of American History; of the principles that this country was founded on and of the philosophies and ideological notions carried forth by the Founding Fathers...
...touring the enormous battlefields around Gettysburg and realizing that monuments have been constructed and land preserved lest we forget that thousands died to preserve those principles, be it 200 years ago or ten years ago...
...realizing that something as simple as the American Flag withstanding the bombs of battle can inspire a poem and song that will resonate with an entire nation for generations to come...
...realizing that the sacrifice of one impacts the lives of many.
Though my Uncle and his nine comrades died en-route to Vietnam during the war, they have never been given the honor of having their names engraved on the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. Within the National Security Administration (NSA) however, is a memorial dedicated to cryptologists who have died in the line of duty. I witnessed first hand how viewing the Memorial impacted my family members...seeing Uncle Greg's name etched into stone, to never be forgotten for his sacrifice.
All of this to say, that I now have a renewed interest in our fund-raising efforts to erect a Glendora War Memorial. For the last year, I've been collecting dollar donations from those interested in purchasing a "vintage" Desert Storm pin to go entirely to the Glendora War Memorial. It isn't a cause I've been super passionate about, so haven't done much "marketing" to increase sales of the pins. But seeing how a simple Memorial can bring peace to a family who has suffered the loss of a soldier who died while in service to their country has renewed my interest in contributing to that fund.
So, anytime you see the American Flag flying proudly outside of knot too shabby, we will match your donation to the Glendora War Memorial!
Take time to remember those who have paid the ultimate price for their Patriotism...to pray for the families who live with the loss every day...and, to rally behind a community that strives for their recognition.
On the bottom right hand corner of our blog, you can make a $1.00 online donation to the Glendora War Memorial.