Friday, May 22, 2015

Someone Midnight Requisitioned My Flag by Roz Denny Fox



I’m the product of a flag-flying family. I wasn’t very old during WWII, but my dad trained welders for the war and my mother, bless her heart, learned to bake tons of cookies with honey which we got from our own bees, because of sugar rationing. She delivered coffee and cookies to the men on troop trains that stopped to refuel near our home. All men, because back then only men went to war. No matter the time day or night we loaded my little red wagon and because I wasn’t yet in school like my sister, I got to help deliver the goods to grateful soldiers. Very young men, I realize now looking back. Many were far from home and slipped my mother their name and unit address so she could write to them---which she faithfully did.

But I digress---this blog is about flying the flag. My dad welded together a steel pole he buried in concrete between his machine shop and our house. The flag went up at sunrise and came down to be folded at sunset every day that I recall. The habit of flying a flag went with me when I moved away from home. And as luck had it, I married a military man whose family also always flew a flag.

Throughout our many moves and various homes, one of the first things we always did after unpacking was to erect some kind of flag holder to our house. My husband believed if the flag had a light on it that you didn’t have to take it down at sunset. So we flew our flags day and night. Of course if they showed the least tatter, we took them to the local Legion for proper disposal and bought a replacement.

After I sold my home a few years ago and bought a smaller place, I was delighted to find a complex of townhomes where they came with flag holders attached to every garage. On my street at least half the homes have flags out all of the time. Recently it’s been windy and we all go out several times a day to unwind our flags.

Two months ago my neighbor’s flag went missing. He’s an old guy with a couple of vocal dogs. His dogs didn’t set up a fuss during the day, so he assumes someone swiped his flag at night. I commiserated with him, but wondered why anyone would steal his flag. Plus, they would have gone right past mine, or others if the thief came the other direction down our street. It remains a mystery. My neighbor is angry and didn’t replace his flag.

Well, I came down with a horrid cold after Easter. I literally didn’t go outside my house for 2 weeks. And when I did—my flag had disappeared. I asked everyone I saw out if they maybe noticed if my flag blew away in the wind. No one could shed any light. And if it had blown away they all agreed someone would have picked it up and asked to whom it belonged. Also our flag poles are fairly solidly in the holder.

I can’t not fly a flag on Memorial Day, so I have bought a new one. I’d like to find a way to chain it to the holder, but the kind that are nailed to the wall don’t leave room for anything but the pole. But I’m really curious as to why someone would steal any flag, let alone two. And why only two on a street lined with many more? One person suggested it’s probably kids out doing mischief. However, I have to take out a step stool to slip the pole in or out of my holder—so I’m picturing a really tall kid. On the other hand I can’t picture any adult going out at night to steal U.S. flags. The flag I fly stands for freedom and honors our military men and women who fight to keep us free. No one who steals my flag can take that away.

Ideas anyone?

37 comments:

  1. I love the digress story about your mother. How wonderful and kind of her. As for your flag, and the neighbor's, it is maddening but you have the right attitude. The only way you'll be able to find out who is taking the flags is to put up security cameras. Or unless they get caught by someone. Keep flying Ole Glory!

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    1. Thanks Jody. Today there are a lot of flags out in my complex, so I'll keep watch.

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  2. One can only hope your missing flag is flying high somewhere, Roz. :( I wish I had some suggestions as to how to keep it safe although when we fly ours, we bring it in every night (and I'm in a gated community). There isn't enough light from our address box to shine on it (per flag flying regulations ). Maybe bringing it in at night would help? Fingers crossed your new one stays put. And yes, much thanks to those who serve and their families.

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    1. Anna, I guess I could bring it in every night, but that means I have to drag a step-stool out every evening and again in the a.m. to put it up. But that would beat buying a new flags.

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  3. I'm so sorry your flag was stolen, Roz. It was probably kids who took it, and not for any patriotic reason. I fly a flag every national, military-related holiday. It's one my dad, a WWII soldier, had at his place so I fly it to honor him.

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    1. Patti, how wonderful that you still have your dad's flag. Long may it wave to honor him.

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  4. Roz, I was enjoying reading about your mother and father, but terribly saddened to think that someone would steal flags. I agree with Jody that you have the right attitude! Keep flying the flag.

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    1. Kate, I think, like Patti and others told me, it's probably kids who were up to mischief.

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  5. It's hard to believe someone would steal a flag, but I guess these days, we shouldn't be surprised.
    I'm happy you've purchased a new one and will fly it with pride, Roz. God Bless America!

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    1. Jill, my sentiments exactly. I love that this morning when I went for my walk to see many homes have flags out for the holiday. The more we fly, the more it means people care.

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    2. That's great to hear, Roz. Did the temperature drop in the OBX? Here in Charlotte, we went from 85 yesterday to the low 70's. With a lower dew point, it's perfect.

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  6. Oh, Roz, you SO take after your mother! I love the story about her faithfully writing all those WWII soldiers who gave her their names, and you show that exact same spirit of caring...it's a real tribute to her that you not only inherited that tendency, but have touched even more people than she ever would've dreamed of.

    And how cool that BOTH your and Denny's families flew flags...talk about a great match!

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    1. Laurie, how sweet you are to think I touch more people.

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  7. I shudder to think you have ISIS living in your neighborhood, but I can't think why anyone would steal a flag to fly it elsewhere. I hope you fly your new flag proudly!

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    1. Mel, yes my flag looks nice, because today we have a stiff breeze. And many put flags out for the first time today.

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  8. I've never understood malicious theft. Your flag is an example. Also money from Girl Scout Cookies, camping supplies gathered for Boy Scouts, money from the collection jar in a restaurant for someone in need. Could it have been someone who has a beef against America? I suppose many people do, but why your flag? I live in a community where folks fly their flags and the neighborhood is quite colorful this weekend. I hope your new flag stays put, decorating the home of a American who isn't afraid to show some spirit!
    Cynthia

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    1. Cynthia, you're right about the Scout thefts. We had girls lose their cash box this year in front of a store. And someone took all of the baseball equipment from a shed belonging to a group of under-privileged kids. That is just wrong.

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  9. Roz - wonderful story about your mom. Can't imagine the purpose of the random theft of your neighbor's flag, then yours. Very strange. Our neighbors are Coast Guard, and once, during a wind storm, their flag came like a missile through one side of our front porch and out the other. I suppose someone would have found it if that had happened to yours. Just put another one up. If someone did it maliciously, it's like the new Trade Center building in New York, a fist pump in the air to say that nothing stops the American spirit.

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    1. Muriel, you are so right. My new flag looks nice.

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  10. Roz, your mother sounds as if she was a wonderful woman. Love that she took you along for cookie delivery and instilled that sense of service in you early on.
    The flag...well if they really needed that flag, then I guess that's another service to them...in a real, round about way. 😉
    If it's mischief then you know some lesson will come back to them at some point.
    Happy Memorial Day!

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    1. Shannon, you are so right. If it was kids, maybe they needed flags for a school project.

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  11. What a great story about your folks. Like everyone else, I don't know why anyone would fly a flag, but living across the road from a cemetery where flowers often come up missing makes me realize thieves will steal anything without needing a reason. You're right, though--even if they take away the flag, they can't take away your reason for flying it.

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    1. Ahem. Why anyone would STEAL a flag, not FLY one. That "publish" button jumped right up in front of me before I proofread my own post!

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    2. Liz, chuckle at your update. Really, someone steals flowers from a cemetery? That's the lowest.

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  12. Roz, You clearly had a wonderful family and share their same generosity. The missing flags are a mystery and my conclusion is the same as Melinda Curtis's. As depressing as it is to think, it's quite possible ISIS sympathizers randomly steal flags so they can deface them. What you did is the exact right thing.. Proudly hung a new flag and shored up your determination not to let the loss of the other one get you down. Happy Memorial Day.

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    1. Connie, thanks on behalf of my family. They were good, solid citizens. I hope our younger generation step up and follow the path to honoring our service men and women and our country.

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  13. Hi Roz, My brother, a Vietnam Vet, always flies his flag also. He puts it out in the morning and takes it down at sunset. Faithfully. He passed away this month and I will miss him terribly. He had military honors at the National Cemetery. appropriate for the memorial holiday. smile
    I sure hope you find out who is taking the flags. I am praying for them.

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    1. Sandra, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. But how wonderful that he had military honors at the National Cemetery. Maybe you can have his flag as a memorial.

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  14. Nice memory of cookies for the soldiers! My great-aunt served coffee and donuts "for our boys" as she described them with the Red Cross in Portsmouth, England, the other end of the trip for the soldiers you and your mother saw.

    Good for you on replacing the flag. A tall miscreant lurks.
    Laura

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    1. This weekend many flags are out. Good for your great-aunt. It probably wasn't easy to get either coffee or donuts in England during the war.

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  15. I'm outraged at the thought of someone stealing your flag, Roz. My dad was a Marine and installed a very tall flag pole in the last home he built before he died. The flag was huge and I loved it! I will be thinking about him and all our veterans this weekend--so grateful to all who serve. What a fun memory of you and your mom delivering cookies to the troops!

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  16. Carol, my husband was a Marine. Once a Marine, always one. In town we have several auto dealers who fly massive flags on very tall poles. I love driving down those streets and seeing the flag waving. Today when I went on my morning walk I saw that a lot more people had put up or put out flags. Some had them on poles along their fences. I appreciate how many patriotic people we have. Thanks for checking in. I keep thinking there will be a blog up today on a Saturday book review. But that's okay. I'll drop by once in a while.

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  17. Love this story about your family and how you took cookies to the train. And I really can't understand why anyone would take your flag, either. I hope they can't sleep at night!

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  18. Patricia, That's a good thought. But probably someone who'd do that doesn't have much of a conscience if any.

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  19. Roz, please share more of your digressions with us. I loved this story of you taking cookies to the train. It was that kind of thing that my grandmother and mother did all their lives and the kind of thoughtfulness and generosity of spirit that I aspire to. We, too, fly the flag and keep a light on it at night. I can't imagine why anyone would steal your flag and just yours, unless it's the same kids the second time. I'd put one up in a window inside the house and give them the raspberries! God bless you for your patriotic sentiments.

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  20. Catherine, whoever took my flag also took my neighbor's. He's a guy who lives alone, and he said he wasn't going to replace his flag. But yesterday some of his family arrived and his son, grandson and great-grandson put a really nice new flag up in his flag pole. So now there are 5 flags flying on the other side of our street and 3 on our side. And kudos to your mother and grandmother. I feel like a piker compared to my mom.

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  21. Roz, what a wonderful, patriotic family you have - they instilled all the right values to you (& Denny). As for the stolen flag, I think it's someone crying out for attention or help - because who else would be crass enough to steal a flag? And I see a story here, even if you never recover your original.

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