I’m not sure if I’m ready to write about the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs just yet, but this photo in today’s Gazette (by photographer Jerilee Bennett) inspires me to try.
Let there be no mistake, this was a disastrous, devastating blow to our community. Over 2,000 people remain out of their homes, and most of those residents returned recently to find a pile of rubble on the very spot where they used to fix supper, tuck kids into bed, water pots and feed hummingbirds. Complete rubble.
And yet, as the flag in the photo so clearly demonstrates, there is already beauty and hope coming from the ashes. The optimistic reactions of many of those who lost so much help the rest of us dry our eyes and jump in to do whatever we can to help. Their faith speaks to us. Our firefighters, police officers, and city officials have masterfully led our community through the worst disaster we have ever known, and their dedication will continue into our extended period of recovery. Above all, our flag still waves, saying as it has for over two centuries: Freedom will prevail. Good will overcome evil. Hope will outshine disaster. We will rise again!
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 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.
The flag I put out on national holidays year after year, home after home, was a gift from my dad. Like old friends, old flags are best. But years ago, when it began to show signs of so much time in the Colorado wind, I retired it to a corner of the hall closet and got a brand new one.
This 4th of July I plan on displaying both flags. I do so with a grateful heart. Grateful for all the service men and women who sacrifice so much to guarantee our freedom as a nation. Grateful for the public servants who protect and serve us. And grateful for God who was with us in the fire, and who can and will bring beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3). God bless us all.