What does the flag mean to me?
First, I am an American and was taught at a very young age to memorize the Pledge of Allegiance by one of the most patriotic teachers I ever had, Carrie Spry Browning. As she would lead the pledge, she would weep and as a child I could not understand why she was weeping. I later learned she must have had a very close relative who must have lost his life while serving his country.
My father was a World War I veteran. I served during World War II and had the honor of escorting the first soldier’s body to Mt. Rainier, Md., to be interned at the Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC. I was only 18 years old and it was quite an experience for me.
I had my orders to let no one open the casket. The mother would get up at night and come down stairs and stand by the casket weeping. She begged me to let her look at her son’s remains. I told her there was no way I could do that. Her husband was an officer in the Navy and she had two daughters.
I explained that I escorted a body and whether he was in the casket or not, I could not say. I told her “Mother, I believe your son is in the casket, so I want you to believe the same. If I were to open the casket and you saw only a set of his dog tags, you would never forget and never forgive me, nor my commanding officer, nor the U.S. Air Force. So let us believe that he is here. I weep with you.” That seemed to satisfy her and I stayed until the funeral rites were finished at Arlington Cemetery.
Yes, I have experienced families suffering because their husband, son or close relative gave their life so we may have our freedom and liberty that we in this great country enjoy.
So when I see Old Glory flying it reminds me of those men and women who gave their lives for our freedom and liberty… In World War II 400,000 gave their lives; Korea, Vietnam and other wars more than 600,000 young men and women, plus the countless who lost their arms, legs, eyesight and traumatic injuries.
The flag represents our security and safety; She has been flying for over 225 years because of our brave and courageous men and women.
I woke up one morning thinking of those brave Marines who planted the flag on Iwo Jima and it reminded me of another event that took place on Golgotha Mt. where three crosses with three men were being crucified and the one in the middle cross, He gave his life freely for my spiritual freedom and liberty and paid the price for my sins.
“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15…and I lay down my life for the sheep. 17… I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” — John 10:15.
Rev. Glenn White