Old Glory

Old Glory

Sep 5th, 2012

Those of you who know me know that I'm an American down to my very bones. That's not to say that I'm an advocate for sugar-rich diets and copious amounts of reality television, but I truly do love this country and I believe that its inhabitants have a lot to be proud of.

Earlier this month, I had a memorable experience that plucked my red, white and blue heart strings with surprising vigor. I was invited to attend a good friend's military retirement ceremony celebrating his long and storied career, and seeing as I would not miss this for the world I made it down to Coronado on a drizzly Friday morning to witness what turned out to be one of the coolest displays of patriotism I've ever seen. The ceremony including several really neat traditions, but the highlight of the morning was when a flag was awarded to my buddy in recognition of his courage, leadership and dedication under extremely arduous conditions. The thing that made this special was when the flag—which was flown over camp Monsoor in honor of Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in Iraq—was passed ceremoniously through the color guard. Each service member would salute the flag, retrieve it and hand it off in a semi-robotic-four-count movement that was both reverent and deliberate. I was thinking that these guys were handling the flag as if it was the most valuable thing on earth when it dawned on me: to some people, it is.

At one point during the flag passing, I turned 90-degrees right in my chair and snapped a photo of Old Glory being handed off. That picture is the one you see above, and I feel that it does a proper job of capturing the intense and sober nature of this tradition. The stars and stripes truly are symbolic of our nation, and as a patriot it definitely put a lump in my throat to see how diligently our flag was handled and how representative that respect and honor is of America as a whole. At the end of the passing, my buddy took the flag and gave it to a close family member, which really drove home the notion that these guys—our guys—are out their fighting for the very soil that we stand and live on. Needless to say, this was an incredibly intense thing to see firsthand.

The next time you see the flag—be it at a hockey game, on a passing truck window, on a t-shirt or whatever—take a few extra moments and realize exactly what it stands for. Some may look at the Stars and Stripes and think of things that they are not proud of, but I think we have every reason to hold our heads up high whenever Old Glory is flown.