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That Ragged Flag

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  • Mark Dellinger
    replied
    Re: That Ragged Flag

    Thank you Al for this. It is such a blessing to see respect passed down from one generation to the next. Very proud and very honorable moment.

    God Bless America,

    Mark

    Leave a comment:


  • Lazy Carver
    replied
    Re: That Ragged Flag

    There's still hope for today's America... The shinning city upon a hill... These children will make us proud once again, as adults and parents, we must to our part.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest
    Guest replied
    Re: That Ragged Flag

    Thanks to everyone! We are sure proud of that little girl, and her 4 year old brother, too. And you bet, Eddy, se gets plenty of hugs!

    Even though the flags over the bluff here are almost always those of deceased veterans, please remember that everywhere that the Stars and Stripes flies, it's in the honor of a military hero.

    Al

    Leave a comment:


  • Eddy-Smiles
    replied
    Re: That Ragged Flag

    Darn Archie! Next time you post a story like this how about a little warning so we'll have the handkerchief's and tissues ready. I hope someone hugged that little girl!

    Leave a comment:


  • santacarver
    replied
    Re: That Ragged Flag

    Thanks Al, what a great story! You should be very proud.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nomad
    replied
    Re: That Ragged Flag

    Great story Al. Thanks for sharing.

    Leave a comment:


  • Claude
    replied
    Re: That Ragged Flag

    Thanks, Al!

    Claude
    Vietnam Veteran and proud of it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Just Carving
    replied
    Re: That Ragged Flag

    Bravo!

    Thank you for sharing with us Al.

    Bob L

    Leave a comment:


  • Nancy-G
    replied
    Re: That Ragged Flag

    Thanks, Al ...... reading that required a lot of blinking and hard swallowing.
    It's a great true story.

    Leave a comment:


  • Merle Rice
    replied
    Re: That Ragged Flag

    Great story Al, always like reading your writimgs, Great feelings in all of them, Thanks. Merle

    Leave a comment:


  • Robert Cahill
    replied
    Re: That Ragged Flag

    I love reading this type of story, Thanks for sharing.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tom Ellis
    replied
    Re: That Ragged Flag

    Blessings come in many forms Al, and you have been blessed with a great family.

    Bet Randy was thrilled. Tom

    Leave a comment:


  • pallin
    replied
    Re: That Ragged Flag

    Thanks AlArchie. It's a good feeling to discover our grandchildren have learned such lessons of respect.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest
    Guest started a topic That Ragged Flag

    That Ragged Flag

    Wrote this for our local paper's Senior Sentinel just after July 4. Hope you like it as much as the folks here did.

    Al

    That Ragged Flag

    Just before the 4th of July, my son's family visited us for about a week. Our eight year old granddaughter asked if we could climb the bluff behind our house. The bluff is on private property so I told her I would ask the owner if it would be OK.

    Randy (Barnum) Gierl, the owner, said “Sure, if you'll change that ragged flag while you're up there. I'll get a new flag over to you in a couple days.”

    Randy, his friends and family maintain the flagpole that rises above the east bluff. They also make sure that an American flag flies on that shaft from Memorial Day through Labor Day and into the fall.

    The offer to allow the climb and change out the flag sounded more than fair. While we were waiting for the new flag from Randy, I mentioned to our next door neighbor, Fran Strelcheck, that my son, my granddaughter and I would be making the climb as soon as we got the new flag.

    Fran's brother Jim had just recently passed away and Fran had received Jim's military funeral flag, and like many families, he had no idea what to do with it. But he asked if we could raise Jim's flag over the bluff when we made the climb. He felt it would be an honor in Jim's name. I agreed, and a new flag, still in the box, was handed over to our small climbing group. Randy's flag would have to wait.

    On a sunny, windy day the three of us headed off for the bluff. It's a quarter mile walk to the base of the bluff from our home, then another similar trek up a muddy trail until we could head through the woods to begin the steep climb.

    There is a cut in the steep rock face of the bluff where it's possible to work your way up. Before getting there, though, a rough talus pile of fractured boulders has to be negotiated. Granddaughter scrambled over the rocks like a mountain goat, Dad fared almost as well, and Grandpa stumbled across with some difficulty. The ascent up the cut was tiring but made quickly. Then a short hike across the top of the prominence, with stunning views of the countryside to the north and west, brought us to the flag pole.

    There, anchored to the steel cable, was the tattered American flag. The stiff winds on top of the bluff had ripped the clip holding the lower grommet of the flag loose, the flag had dropped and gotten entangled in the supporting cables. The ends of the red and white stripes were shredded but the rest of the flag was intact.




    It took a few minutes to untangle and remove the flag. I handed it in a bundle to my granddaughter, then went to change out the broken clip and attach and raise the new flag.

    With Jim Strelcheck's flag flying briskly at the top of the pole, I turned back to my son and granddaughter. There, they had already folded that tattered flag lengthwise into quarters. My son held the blue star field and my eight year old granddaughter had taken the frayed striped end and folded it gently, straight over enough to hide the rips and tears, then made the next diagonal fold. One more straight fold then the next diagonal, the sequence repeated till the red and white stripes were concealed in a blue star field triangle.

    That flag, though tattered and torn, had been given the respect it deserved by an eight year old little girl and her dad, standing atop a lofty precipice, while another flag, that of a deceased veteran flew in his honor over the city of Bessemer.

    I had neither asked nor expected that the damaged flag be shown such respect but it gave me great pride to have witnessed my granddaughter folding that flag so carefully.
    The next time you see a flag flying on the bluff, remember first, that it is the flag of a deceased veteran, this time that of James Strelcheck, but next time perhaps another proud patriot. And secondly, remember that like my granddaughter, there are other young people that show respect for our flag, our country and our veterans.
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