Grand Ol’ Flag

All the recent controversy about people dishonoring our flag reminded me of an old Gazette column I’d like to share again. Long may she wave! And Happy 4th of July weekend!

Flag in potOne of the best parts of celebrating the Fourth of July is seeing so many grand ol’ flags on display. In store windows, on car antennas, or lining parade routes in all the small towns of our memories, the Stars and Stripes say America like nothing else can.

I inherited my love for the flag from my dad, although I’m not sure I remembered to tell him I had finally caught his passion while he was still alive.

It used to irritate me that he loved flags so much. Whenever our family visited a new city or national park, my dad would want us to pose for pictures at the base of a flagpole. To get the whole flag into the picture, he’d have to move to the other side of the street with the camera, so we have lots of vacation shots with my sisters and me barely discernible as we rallied ‘round the flagpole for dear old dad. In the 8-millimeter home movies, we’re trying madly to out-wave the flag, along with occasionally pinching or shoving one another, but you have to look closely to see who’s who because the flag is still the star.

I think my dad was born a patriot. He was proud to be able to trace his roots back to the American Revolution, and although he served in the FBI instead of a branch of the military during World War II, he staunchly defended his country and its flag at every opportunity.

Fran and Amanda, now all grown up, with the cake they made!

Fran and Amanda, now all grown up, with the cake they made!

I’m not sure when the flag took on so much meaning for me, but living on foreign soil, then sending a young (first) husband off to Vietnam, had a lot to do with it. To this day, I can’t get through the national anthem at a football game without tearing up as I focus on the unfurled flag.

The flag I put out on national holidays year after year, home after home, was a gift from my dad. A few years ago it began to show signs of so much time in the Colorado wind, so I retired it to a corner of the hall closet and got a brand new one.

In addition to flying the flag, I usually make a flag cake with blueberry stars and strawberry stripes each 4th of July, along with homemade ice cream of course. And we even had a cat named for Betsy Ross because she was discovered abandoned on the Fourth of July.

Flag in frontBut like old friends, old flags are best.

My second son, Tim, was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve by his dad. The ceremony was held on our back deck with all of our blended family seated in rows of chairs as the audience. Tim’s two small nieces and half-brother waved little flags in celebration. Draped from the deck railing behind him, as he raised his right hand and promised to defend the Constitution of the United States, was the tattered old flag he and his brother helped me display so many times throughout their growing-up years.

I know my dad was proud.


  1. Elizabeth H. Van Liere says:

    Great, Nancy. We need this reminder so much these days when we tend to dwell only on the controversies going on instead of what the flag stands for.: how the U.S. began..

    • Amen, Betty. I was brought to tears watching the fireworks last night. At the venue we attended the band played God Bless America and The National Anthem. Healing to my soul!

  2. Kudos, Nancy! The more our flag is attacked and false attributions assigned to it out of sheer ignorance of our history, the more vehemently I stand up and either salute it or put my hand over my heart. The lyrics of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” come to mind. Your article, Nancy, is a voice all of us should adopt. Hear, Ye!! Here Ye!! All of us must stand and defend it when in the presence of someone denigrating it. It’s not the flag’s material, it’s what it stands for. Your post inspires and encourages. I know your husband is right there with you!

    • Thanks, Rolle. Like your use of the word “denigrating” because that’s what it is! We have to keep standing up for America for as long as we can stand!!

  3. Jimmie Bohannon says:

    Good memories! I didn’t know your dad was FBI!
    Love you, Jimmie

    • Yes! Which was why my sisters and I could never have long phone conversations–he had to keep the “line open!” My how times have changed.

  4. Thank you, Nancy, for this country-honoring post. When you and I are invited to the White House, I know we will definitely go, saluting every American flag we see, and making both our papas proud.

  5. Peggy Lovelace Ellis says:

    One of my earliest childhood memories is of the tiny flag pin I bought with pennies during WWII. I wore it proudly, as we sometimes waited weeks for a letter from my Navy brother on board the USS McDermott in the Pacific. He came home safely and never complained about the shrapnel in his legs or gave details of battles. However, when he saw anyone, strangers included, who failed to salute the flag he set them straight on their attitude. I miss him, but am relieved he didn’t live to see the disrespect the flag receives today. Thanks for the memories.

    • Thanks for sharing those memories, Peggy. I certainly thank your brother for his service and I’m sorry for your loss.

  6. Pat Carty says:

    Dear Nancy,
    I appreciate all your “Blog Postings” I don’t often respond but, that does not mean I don’t appreciate your commentary. You put in a lot of effort and heart when you write. I served as Chaplain for the Marine Corps League Pikes Peak Division 29 for five years and am now the Rocky Mountain Division Chaplain for the Marine Corps League. This Division covers 4 states: Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and, New Mexico. I’ve attended and participated in well over 200 funerals for, primarily, Marines but, I have also attended and officiated at other branches of Service. All our Veteran’s put their life on the line. It breaks my heart that so many of my Marine buddies have died and, are dying from Agent Orange. So very sad.

    Nancy thank you and all your wonderful supporters for their positive comments about our wonderful country and the United States flag that Betsy Ross designed!

    God Bless You Nancy,
    Semper Fi!

    • Thanks for ALL your service, Pat! It’s just not right to demonize Betsy Ross for making the only flag that made sense at that time! I appreciate your patriotism and support.

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