It’s been said that you don’t know what the flag really means until you’ve been handed a folded one. My family has always been strong on patriotism, honor and sacrifice. My grandfather, Tom, served in World War II. He was my first introduction to The American Legion when I was only 8 or 9. My father, Bruce, became a firefighter on Long Island. My first husband was in the Marines when I married him. I lived as a military wife, living and moving within the confines of Marine Corps air stations across the U.S. We were in Philadelphia during the Bicentennial in 1976. There was a parade and review every Friday night. The symbolism of the flag was front and center every week for all to see. Years later after a divorce, I met and married my second husband. He was a two-tour Vietnam veteran and suffered terribly from PTSD; 20 years later he passed away from the results of Agent Orange. Again, we were a very patriotic couple. We put the flag on our house every day. We participated in many parades, Flag Day ceremonies, and of course American Legion Family activities. When he passed away he was a district commander. His celebration of life couldn’t fit any more people in the room. A friend knelt down in front of me after the 13 folds had been done, and with tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat started to recite: “On behalf of a grateful nation,” and the both of us just started crying. He eventually finished the rest of the recitation. That flag is prominently displayed in my living room. The emotion this invoked is hard to describe. There’s a flood of emotion. Sad your loved one is gone, pride because they served the country with honor. The flag of the United States is a symbol of the great nation. It is not to be stomped on. It is not to be discounted as meaning nothing. It carries the spirit and memories of our loved ones. It is true that being handed a folded flag changes the way you may look at the symbol of the greatest country on Earth. God bless the United States.
by Glynis Seeley
This article originally appeared July 23, 2021 on LegionTown.org. Click here to view the original article.