Flag Day Celebration

Well tomorrow is a very important day in our country, but if course because Hallmark doesn’t make a big stink about it and because the patriotism that used to be alive in this country continues to dwindle, it isn’t recognized like it should be. It is actually a very important day for two reasons. One is that it is Flag Day, and the other is because it is the birthday of the US Army. Two important events on one day, and you barely see mention of it.

No doubt it is important to me and my family as it is to millions of others across the country, but just not everyone. The importance to my family was demonstrated this morning as I attended a Flag Day ceremony at my youngest (6 year old) son’s school. This is the elementary school that my 15 year old also attended and where my wife helps out tutoring, supervises recess, etc. So this morning my youngest son, Hunter, was adamant that he has to wear his ACU camouflage pants and shirt. He knew I was attending in uniform today so he wanted to be in “uniform”.

After I put him on the bus, I came inside to get dressed on don the ACUs for this morning event. When we walked into the school I was glad to see another Dad there in uniform. He is in the Navy Reserves and also came in uniform at the request of the school. The ceremony was very nice and a lot longer with more content then I remember in the past when my 15 year old went to school there. At one point in the middle of the ceremony the principal called anyone forward that is in uniform or is a vet. So I and the other dad went up the front and were recognized, which was good for the kids I guess. I know Hunter loved it as I had to say who my child was and he loved being pointed out like that. As I was talking, I looked over at him and he was ear to ear with a smile. After I walked back to where I was standing, Christine leaned over to another parent and said “if he knew they were going to call him up like that, he would not have worn a uniform”. Oh my wife knows me way too well.

As the ceremony was drawing to a close the principal was saying some last words when I noticed from the corner of my eye that Hunter was up and talking to his teacher. I then saw them walking up to the center where the principal was standing. Christine was filming and did not see them yet, so when I saw that Hunter was carrying a picture of his brother Jon, who is currently deployed to Afghanistan too I knew it was about to be a tissue alert moment. I asked Christine to hand me the camera as I would film, and I think she was thankful for me to do it so she could watch what was left of the ceremony. I don’t think she had seen Hunter yet since she was watching through the viewfinder of the camera with its limited scope of view. As I took the camera from her, she saw Hunter with the picture and so did every other parent and teacher in the gym. The tears started flowing at this moment and many teachers and parents came up afterwards to give Christine and hug and shake my hand.

Since my 15 year old son, Jordan went to 1-5th grades here we know many of the teachers personally and they know about our family history. Jon never went to school here but many of them know him or of him. As Hunter and his teacher approached the principal, she looked puzzled and leaned over to listen to what Hunter’s teacher had to say. The principal then announced that we had one more special person to recognize. With Hunter standing up in front dressed in all ACU camouflage, one of the teachers held of Jon’s photo as high as she could and showed Jon’s picture to the entire gym full of people. The principal then said something to the effect of “well you all just met Hunter’s dad who is in the Army, but Hunter wanted you to also know about his brother who is also in the Army and currently in Afghanistan.” The entire gymnasium of kids, parents, teachers and administrators erupted in applause for Hunter’s brother Jon in Afghanistan. It was a special moment for a little boy who has put up with so much missing out of his life over the last 2+ years with his Dad deployed and now his big brother.

As his Dad it also made me proud to see my six year old son with so much pride and patriotism not only for his Dad and brother, but also for his country. He knows all about the flag, draws flags all the time and always gives them the utmost respect. So regardless of how anyone else in the country feels I know in my household Flag Day will always be remembered and recognized as will the birthday of the US Army.

8 thoughts on “Flag Day Celebration”

  1. Wow, that WAS a tissue alert moment! You must be so proud of all your children! I wanted to wish you a Happy Father’s Day, I hope you get to speak to Jon. My sons and I (age 9 and 7) have the house decorated with flags for tomorrow. They want a cake to celebrate the Army’s birthday, too! (my husband is an Army veteran) Just wanted to let you know that Patriotism is still alive and kickin’ on Long Island!

  2. Wow! I am so proud I am lost for words. But I should not be surprised because I know how patriotic your whole family is but Hunter’s actions take my breath away. What a special moment and I hope you were able to tape it all so as to share with Jon.
    Love and Happy Flag Day to All!!

  3. What a great story–I’m sure Jon will be very touched too when you tell him about it. Brought a few tears to my eyes…

  4. Very nice, indeed. Hope you will be posting some pictures of the event at Hunter’s school. Our family has a tradition: everyone who vists our house, any day of the year, receives a flag to carry home with them. Happy Flag Day…and, Happy Father’s Day! ; )

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