By Marsha M. Brown
Just about the time I think I’ve heard it all…I come to realize that no, I haven’t heard it all; then I start to wonder what news of the day tomorrow will overshadow what just burned my ears today.
I try to be positive…I really do. I always look for the good in people…always. Even when I hear opinions that strongly contrast to mine…I respect that folks see things differently sometimes than I do and that’s O.K. We all have noses…and eyeballs right? Why not opinions? That brings me to my point.
Typically, like most folks I start the day early with a cup of hot coffee or green tea and settle into my favorite chair or recliner. Then…I pray. I begin by thanking the good Lord for His love, His forgiveness and His sacrifice; I thank Him for loving me just as I am with all my shortcomings and stubborn ways…followed by thankfulness for our family’s health and cognizant of the fact that even with ‘Uncle Art’ (arthritis) knocking at my door…a stiff lower back and right knee…I am blessed beyond compare. I thank Him for our family starting with my ‘sweetie pie’ Billy…the very beginning of it all and for the fact that my husband is a Christian…and that he’s a veteran. I thank Him that Billy came home from Vietnam and that God allowed me the honor of being his wife. And for just a second…I remember the wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons whose loved ones have yet to come home.
My prayers celebrate and encompass our children…our grandchildren…my brother Ed and sister Donna …my best friend ‘Bibber’ and their families; our Pastor, his family and then our whole church family too. I ‘lift’ them up and I pray for blessings in their lives and answers to their prayers…then, I thank Him for our home…and our ability to pay for it. I close my prayer giving God the gratitude He deserves and by asking Him to help me help people.
A few days ago our little 7 lb. Yorkie “Pepper” jumped into my lap to snuggle while her ‘Daddy’ (Billy) prepared to take her outside for her morning potty. She likes the early morning so she can survey our home site perimeter for traces of squirrels and neighbors cats or dogs. Then…Billy came into the living room to put on Pepper’s harness (I call it her ‘bra’) and as soon as he opened our wooden front door the first thing I fixed my eyes on through the glass storm door (as usual) was our P.O.W./M.I.A. flag. It’s affixed to the railing of our front deck…looking at our house from the street, it’s to the right of our American flag which is posted to fly erect. The POW/MIA flag tilts forward and toward the street making it shorter in height and not to compete with our American flag – which should always stand taller than all others.
Sipping my early morning coffee…it’s the first thing I fix my eyes on against the backdrop of the bushy green foliage behind it. Depending on the weather…it whips in the wind…or it falls at an angle yet as straight as a starched & ironed bed sheet…regardless, it’s a symbol that instills remembrance…respect…and never ending hope. The predominately black and white POW/MIA flag is a reminder of our military personnel who have yet to come home…it’s a subtle but stark reminder that many paid the price for all of us to be free yet our heroes are unable to come home and enjoy it themselves…freedom that is. It’s probable that many of the veterans it represents have already passed away and ‘crossed the bar’…perhaps years ago…if they were tortured…they have no doubt reclaimed their health in heaven.
I turn on the morning news and scan the channels as usual for what subject matter catches my eye first. I stop…in shock…I turn the T.V. remote volume up…I can’t believe I’m hearing what I t-h-i-n-k I just heard…that a man has written his views on why the POW/MIA flag should be abolished. Billy is still outside with little ‘Pepper’ and I’m glad. Like the majority of men and women who served in Vietnam he feels strongly that no matter how many years it’s been…his brothers and sisters who never came back should never be forgotten. The POW/MIA flag? It’s a statement. One look at it and you know it represents a hard, very hard time in our country’s history when we lost over 58,000 service men and women during the Vietnam War. My husband, like so many who served in Vietnam, wear T-shirts, hats and place stickers on their truck windows etc. to help remind us all NOT to forget. As much as I dreaded mentioning it to him, I knew he’d hear it through the course of the day. When he came back inside he was smiling about something our little ‘fuzzy face’ had just done outside then, he poured his coffee and sat down. I reluctantly shared the bad news explaining what I had just seen on the news. His big smile turned upside down and his eyes fell to the floor.
At that time I wondered…hummmm…did that man or anyone who might possibly agree with him ever serve our country? Do they know what the term ‘courage’ really means? Do they grasp the essence of it? Have they ever stood at the gravesite of a veteran friend or comrade and heard TAPS? Have they ever seen the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall? Do they have any respect for the men and women who have fought and died to preserve their right to spew such nonsense? I don’t know…I don’t know what causes people who live in this country to be so critical of everything that is good…that makes us think…that makes us appreciate the wealth of the American spirit. And another thing…race was even brought into the writer’s complaint about the POW/MIA flag. Are you serious? It is black and white…just like the black and white brothers and sisters who fought and fell side by side…just like all of the races who have worn our uniforms, carried our machine guns, fired our missiles and threw those hand grenades…our veterans have served our nation notably and honorably…side-by-side…as Americans black and white and that is what matters. People who thrive on creating or stirring up hard feelings, encourage anger, resentment and prejudice who can’t move forward and together unified as Americans BORE me to tears! “One nation under God…” our blood all runs red. In thinking about it more…I decided all I could do for now was include the POW/MIA flag naysayer in my morning prayers too.
To all of our veterans, thank you! To all Americans who love and appreciate our veterans and all they have done for us…thank you too! Proudly fly your American and your POW/MIA flag…and in the meantime…if you need me (252) 202-2058 or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org In the meantime, be happy…be safe and be proud! Stay tuned and God bless you all!