Today I am featuring my first guest poster, ever, and it's my mother, Anita. My mom doesn't have a blog or anything to promote, but her father died two months ago, and she's working through her grief.
Her post is timely, as it relates to this upcoming Independence Day.
Being a church lady these past 48 months has had significant moments for me. One of those happened today. Today I ironed the flag. The United States of America flag. Old Glory, The Stars and Stripes. The good old Red, White and Blue.
No problem, just bust out the rickety four-foot ironing board and the iron from the church laundry room and whip this out, I thought. Twenty minutes, tops. Yeah. First of all, this flag is 8 feet by 5 feet. Kinda bigger than that four-foot ironing board, I’d like to point out. The flag is made of nylon and has about one thousand creases in it from being folded for, what 5 or 6 years? There’s no a/c in the lobby. What was I thinking? Anyway, being a church lady I tackled my project with religious zeal.
After about 2 minutes of ironing I’m staring at those stripes and am reminded of the young veterans at my father’s funeral this past April. Snap-folding the draped flag that had lain over his coffin. Staring intently into each others' eyes, seemingly not blinking. On bended knee, handing the folded flag to my mother, thanking her for my father's service to his country. Wanting to fall on my face and sob. Choking back my tears, I see my son-in-law wipe the tears from his eyes. Watching my cousin salute as the twenty-one rifle shots are fired.
Now the tears fall on the flag that I am pressing. I can barely see the creases. I want to fall on my face and sob. It’s about my dad. Injured in WWII. Left for dead on the battlefield in Europe, only to rise and fight another day. It’s about America and other dads and sons, uncles and brothers who have fallen and didn’t get up. I’m praying now for our country and the direction we are headed. God help our leaders to make wise and good decisions. Keep our country safe.
Taking the wrinkles out of the flag seems impossible. The nylon material is easily burned. I can’t let the flag touch the floor. Fixing our country seems almost as impossible.
The ESL students are on break now and wandering by with a timid smile and a hello. This is why I’m proud to be an American. People from other countries can and want to be here. Being the daughter of an immigrant, this has special meaning to me. Why are we always complaining? Why so ungrateful? I could be eking out an existence on a rancho in Mexico instead of working in a church and going home to my air-conditioned home with a swimming pool.
I love America. Independence Day falls on Sunday this year. We’re hanging that flag smack dab in the church lobby. Happy 4th y’all.