Celebrating and commemorating our veterans. United States military veterans and their families.

A Personal Tribute to Our Flag – Gig Line #348

By Marsha M. Brown

A few days ago, I saw a heartwarming video that I wish everybody could see. It was of an elderly veteran who was in a wheelchair being pushed by what appeared to be his wife or companion. It looked like they were on a sidewalk in a residential neighborhood and that a home security system they were moving passed allowed us the privilege to witness what literally ‘unfolded’ from someone’s front porch.

As the couple was passing by the house a gust of wind swept our beautiful American flag out of its holder carrying it some distance from the porch and dropping it onto the ground. The seasoned veteran basically put the skids to their trek somewhere else and he pointed to the fallen flag laying on the brick driveway motioning to his wife (or whomever) that he wanted to pick it up. She backed up his wheelchair enough for him to grasp his cane and stand up while seemingly shaky and a bit unsteady, she showed genuine concern that he might fall, however…he waved her away from assisting him so that he could steady himself and continue his quest to pick up the grand Stars and Stripes. Once he approached what appeared to be the front entrance of the house, he rang the doorbell while his companion encouraged him to leave the flag there for the owners/occupants to find when they returned home but…he explained to her that he wanted to fold it instead.

At that point each of them proceeded to evenly stretch out the masterpiece in a stance to render the ‘Thirteen Folds.’ They extended its full length each holding an end tightly and then he began the ‘fold’ reaching out to smooth the cloth wrinkles. During the process, and with no audio verbalization, he is seen explaining the process of folding it correctly upon which she followed his lead. She held her end tightly while step-by-step on his wobbly legs he folded each of the creases perfectly until he reached her end and just before the last fold, she sweetly reached up with her right arm and gently patted him on his left shoulder as if to say, “That’s was sweet my dear”…or “Thank you honey”…or “Good job my love” or maybe even, “I’m so proud of you babe”.

This endearing couple properly tucked in the last of the flag, then she held it while he steadied himself again and then…he saluted ‘Old Glory.’

After that, he turned toward the security camera…then gingerly stepped toward what would be the temporary resting place for the prized and priceless flag he had rescued for the occupants to find upon their return.

After he placed it by the door, his sweet companion put her hand over her heart obviously moved by the sincere devotion to ‘his’ flag and his quest to save it…respect it…and to honor it. She again reached up to pat his left shoulder as if beaming with pride, then he reached for his cane once again when they put their arms around each other. It was then he gave one last look at the precious treasure he would leave behind; lastly, a final glace toward the door before they turned and walked toward his circular mode of transportation…his wheelchair.

If you read GIG LINE often, its no secret that I’m a bit of a ‘sap’ especially when it comes to my late husband ‘Billy’ and to our service men and women (Billy’s brothers & sisters), but this short video says it all and I couldn’t help but end up with tears rolling south after watching it. Where I saw this touching video was on Facebook. I’m not a constant user of the site; however, I’ve found awesome references to veterans, their homecoming videos, testimonies of veterans and other lovers of veterans who seek opportunities to help them and their families AND tremendous grief support, recipes, local news, requests for prayer, notations when a local passes away and a host of other benefits when viewing it at least occasionally.

If you don’t have or use Facebook, perhaps someone in your family, friends or workplace could access the video I referenced so you can see it. It was entitled Getti – April 7 (with a caption), “I cried when the disabled Veteran saluted the fallen Flag”. If you don’t see it, just remember there are a LOT of veteran related videos to see, be inspired by and celebrate if you get a chance.       

I noticed he wore a ball cap that appeared to represent a military symbol, branch, or war. I couldn’t see it very well at first, but my assumption was correct in that he clearly loved our red, white, and blue which told the story. It immediately inspired me when I saw how bothered the kind gentleman was to see our flag swept out of its secure place and onto the ground…I wish I could shake his hand or hug his neck (and hers too for helping him)…he is a patriot…this man loves our country…he apparently loves what our flag stands for and no doubt his possible recollection of his days of military service or of someone he loved and perhaps lost to war was evident.

What a beautiful tribute – what a visual testimony of true patriotism. God bless his dear heart! The absolute and only true love of my life, my ‘Sweetie Pie Billy, would have shed tears over that priceless video too. Gee whiz…I miss him so much.

If you have served our great nation…THANK YOU and thank you too to your family members who sat and waited and cried and prayed for your safe return. God brought you home for a reason…maybe to love on other vets…maybe to offer comfort and comradery – regardless, we all thank Him that you’re here with us in the ‘Land of the living.’ If you’d like to talk to our Dare County Veteran Service Officer (VSO) to inquire about a potential claim, benefits, medical issues as a result of your military service, please call Patty O’Sullivan at her office (252) 475-5604 or her work cell: (252) 473-7749 or by email: [email protected] Patty is a devoted liaison between you, the veteran, and the VA. She can also help you in requesting a duplicate DD-214 and she’s the perfect, friendly, and informed local source for official VA information.

As Secretary of the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council, you can call my cell: (252) 202-2058 or email me: [email protected] and either Patty or myself can issue the free Dare County Veterans Discount Card to you when we can see that your DD-214 shows your separation from military service was under HONORABLE conditions along with proof of your local Dare County residency (by means of a rental lease, and/or copy of a utility bill or property tax bill and your Driver’s License which does NOT have to be for North Carolina). That’s it! The process takes all of 15 minutes and the Card will entitle you to varying discounts at over one hundred businesses on the Outer Banks. We’re both eager to put it in your hands, so please call us!

Until next time, remember the precious, devoted veteran I told you about. Let’s all do our best every day of the year to honor ALL our veterans, hold them to the highest esteem and love on them every chance we can get. Be healthy, safe, and happy and God bless each one of you and those you love! I love you too! Stay tuned!

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