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.