Veteran’s Day Commemorated

small flag

© James Pyles

Perhaps I’m obsessed, but as I was getting ready for work this morning, I found this tiny American flag my granddaughter had in her hand when my son brought his children over for dinner last night. At age three, she doesn’t understand the symbolism and meaning yet, but her Dad served in the Marine Corps., and her Great-Grandpa (my Dad) served in the Air Force, and I understand.

We, as Americans, cannot fully appreciate the freedoms we have, including the freedom to protest, and to disrespect all that the flag stands for, without honoring the men and women who fought (and those who died) to establish and preserve those freedoms. Even Colin Kaepernick and those who idolize him owe their freedom to kneel during our National Anthem to military men and women.

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What It Means to be Free

truck, pumpkins, flag

MorgueFile May 2018 1413924415vgvbk

Young Nate had a blast running through the cornfield and picking out pumpkins, but then the little boy saw his Grandpa standing by an American flag next to the field.

“What are you doing, Grandpa?”

“Remembering when I was your age and we kids said the Pledge of Allegiance in front of the flag every morning.”

Nate looked down if he were embarrassed.

“What’s wrong?” Grandpa put his hand on the boy’s shoulder.

The fourth grader looked up at Grandpa. “Some kids at school say we should kneel instead of stand in front of the flag because of racism.”

Grandpa knelt down. “I know that our country has done bad things and we still have problems that need fixing, and if people want to kneel, that’s their right. That’s what makes America free. But it’s never been about what’s wrong with America, but about our ideals, who we are when we’re our best. I’ll always stand. People who forget that will always live in fear. The flag is a reminder of what freedom is, and when you’re free, you’re never afraid.”

The old man was kneeling in front of the flag, but only so he could hug his dear grandson.

I wrote this for Week #37 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

Yesterday was the 17th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks against our nation, and America still carries a lot of collective pain from that day. I wrote a wee fictional tale honoring the victims and those who survived them, so the feelings are still fresh within me.

I wish I had more than 200 words to express what I’m trying to say. I know that there will always be people who will kneel in front of the flag as long as they perceive there being social injustice in this nation. That’s their right as American citizens. That’s what it means to be free. But what I tried to say today echos what I recently wrote in a longer essay a few days back.

Right now, a lot of people are afraid of that guy in the White House. They’re afraid about who will be the next Supreme Court Justice. They’re afraid of a lot of things, real and imagined. But I choose not to live in perpetual fear. Yes, I get scared of things sometimes, but both my identity as an American and my faith in God help me realize that I wasn’t born to be afraid. Isaiah 43:1 says “Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.”

The Almighty was addressing Israel, not the people of the nations, but through faith to the King of Israel and by his merit, the rest of us can also be called children of God. Presidents are temporary. God is everlasting. If you don’t believe, that’s fine. We all negotiate our relationship with the Creator in different ways. I’m just glad I live in a country where people are free, both to kneel in front of the flag and to pray to and have faith in God. It’s the same country, and it’s the same freedom.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

P.S. Don’t forget to contribute your own story to Roger’s linkup. Thanks.

Those Never Forgotten

autumn morning

© wildverbs

The air was finally carrying a chill in the mornings, the first sign of Fall. Nick had always loved the Fall, even as a kid, but today possessed a bitterness along with the cold. He got up early, went through his morning routine, and then opened the hallway closet.

There, like every other morning, was the American flag. He never kept it out at night because there were too many vandals.

He gently ran his dark brown fingers along the fabric. Today, more than any other day, it meant something special. “I miss you Dad.”

Tears were running down his cheeks as he put the flag pole in its holder next to the front door on the outside of his cottage. Seventeen years ago today, his Dad, a New York City Police Officer, was among the first responders after the World Trade Center was destroyed. The 27-year-old Marine veteran saluted the flag, not just for honor of country and the Corps, but for the bravest man he’d ever known who died on this day.

I wrote this for the 182nd FFfAW Challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 174.

Today marks the seventeenth anniversary of the heinous terrorist attacks on our country, a time when we remember those who fell, and the courage of the men and women who first responded to the attacks. I felt I should write something appropriate.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Symbol of Hope

justin - flag

Justin Schroeder, 36, in front of his home in Bozeman, Montana – Image found at Blue Lives Matter website.

When the kid walked up his driveway, Johnny recognized him as Randall Berry, who had moved to Boise with his family from Seattle last month. That didn’t surprise him one bit. Johnny got up from where he was sitting on his front porch as Randall approached. “Evening.”

“I see you still have that symbol of hate flying,” pointing at the American flag mounted to the right of Johnny’s front door.

“I see you had the nerve to back up that threat you made in the anonymous note you had the audacity to tape to my front door.”

“You should have done what I told you to do and gotten rid of the flag. I promised you a fight where you would lose.”

“Take your best shot you motherf-cker.”

Continue reading

Warriors

foot

© J. Hardy Carroll

They were just kids and they thought it was funny. He was a homeless Vietnam vet who had his foot blown off. The punks thought they were doing the world a favor by abusing him.

I found them a mile away from where they left him and made them tell me where they’d left his prosthetic.

I took it back and said he could come to my place. He asked me why. I told him that Marines have each others backs. Later that night, he stood on one good foot and one artificial one, and we both saluted the flag.

I wrote this for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above to create a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count (after a lot of editing) is 100 words.

A prosthetic limb and the American Independence Day. I didn’t have to think hard to write this one. My Dad was a veteran and so is one of my sons. For their sake alone, I’ll never take the knee in front of the American flag, though I respect the right of anyone who chooses to. After all, that’s what so many have fought and died for; the right to speak their mind in a free country.

Happy Independence Day to you and yours.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

The Last American Flag

old glory

© Yinglan Z.

Alex and Ginnie brought their heavily armed team up to the top of Crystal Peak. They didn’t have much time and had no hope at all. When they placed the flag here six months ago, they knew they were breaking the law, but America had been founded by a courageous group of law breakers. This time, there would be no forming a new nation, because the America they knew, the one their fathers and grandfathers knew, was gone.

First, it was “taking the knee” during the pledge in protest. Then there was stomping on the flag or burning it, and posting the videos to YouTube, which immediately went viral. Finally, at the behest of President Julian Sanders, Congress abolished the Constitution to form the People’s Socialist Party of America. Flying Old Glory became illegal.

“They’re coming.” Ginnie grabbed her husband’s arm. He said nothing and waited. The small band of resistance fighters watched the brigade of black-clad security forces and prepared to make their last stand and die with their nation as did their forefathers.

I wrote this for the 171st FFfAW Challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

After a vain attempt to locate where the photo was taken, I decided on a different approach based very loosely on news items I’ve been reading over the past couple of days. As difficult as some of those events may seem and how some people view the U.S. currently, it could still be much, much worse.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.