Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Flag Still Waves

As we prepare to celebrate our nation's 235th birthday, I wanted to share a story with you.

Over the years, I've been privileged to preside at the funerals and memorial services for a number of military veterans. Such services are especially poignant, in my opinion, as we honor the lives of people who were willing to serve their country at great personal risk. Even though many of them lived for decades after their military service had ended, we remain indebted to them for their sacrifice.

One of the most meaningful moments of such services is when the flag which had draped the casket is folded with military precision and presented to the surviving members of the family. While that is a beautiful and touching ceremony, I sometimes wondered why the flag wasn't buried with the deceased. After all, it isn't uncommon to bury our loved ones with items of significance.

Well, recently I read a possible explanation for this. We don't bury the deceased with the flag, one person noted, because while the soldier has fallen, the flag still waves.

I don't know whether that definitively answers the question, but it's a good enough answer for me.

I am grateful for the men and women who give of themselves to keep us safe & free. And I am grateful that 235 years later, the flag still waves.

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