Sunday, July 02, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

Actually it isn't my birthday until later this month but I did get my birthday present already. It is the POW-MIA flag flying on my flagpole along with our American flag. Growing up as a child my parents had a flagpole and always displayed the flag. It was my job to take it down in the evening before sunset, then my sister and I would fold it up. Not just in a square but officially in the shape of a triangle with the blue field and stars on the top. This tidbit I didn't know until just now; After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington and the sailors and marines who served under Captian John Paul Jones who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today. (source: US Air Force Acadamy) We have a light on it at night so we can leave it up. When our nephew was serving in Iraq with the 101st Airborne out of Fort Campbell, KY, we flew the US Army flag.

I have wanted the POW-MIA flag for a long time as I have a connection albiet a small one to those soldiers. When I was a young girl the Vietnam war was going on. Once a week our local paper would list the names of the soldiers killed. I begged my mother to send away for a POW bracelet for me. She did and I took good care of it and wore it faithfully. My bracelet had the name of CWO Michael B. Varnado with 5-2-70 as the MIA date. I was in high school when the Vietnam war ended on April 30, 1975 when the last Americans, 10 Marines left the embassy in Siagon. The soldier on my bracelet never showed up on any lists except the missing one. Fast forward to the summer of 1991. I contacted the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia to see if they could tell me what became of him. The remains of CWO Michael B. Vernado who went missing on that fatefull day in May were returned to the United States on April 27, 1989. His name is on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. with a cross next to it symbolizing his status as missing in action with a diamond superimposed on the cross, symbolizing his repatriation to his country. I also worked with a gentleman for many years at my old job whose son was MIA in Vietnam. Unfortuanatly, his remains have never been returned to this date and his parents are gone now also.

As my friend gman a US Air Force vet tells me, "freedom isn't free" and he certainly is right about that. Whether it be our freedom from the British or helping to liberate others from tyrants, young men and women will continue to give thier lives in the persuit of freedom.


feetman78 said...

I like the blog. It offers a way to get to know you beyond you feet and toes. (smile)

Interesting flag pole. I like flag poles, even though I am generally seen by some here as an enemy to the U.S. flag. I am very much against any anti-flag burning amendment. I fear irrational or misplaced loyalty to symbols rather than concertete ideals. Our flag means little without the ideals behind that flag. When people attack those ideals, it often seems that people don't care or understand.

I often find it interesting that my daily work is protecting the rights in the Constiution for our citizens, but because I strongly believe in the right to burn a flag, many see me as anti-American.

Dwight said...

I agree with feetman78. There's a lot worse problems in the US than burning our flag. Burning the flag would be making a statement like sending a letter to an editor of a newspaper or picketing, and should be protected under the 1st amendment.