In 1976 I had the privilege of occasionally touring with a road production my alma mater, Liberty University, produced based on the John W. Peterson patriotic cantata I Love America. Most of the time I was production crew, but a few times I was one of the Marines who raised the flag over Iwo Jima in a replication of the famous Life magazine photograph and statue in our nation’s capital.
One of the songs especially comes to mind when I think of that image. When I close my eyes I can still hear Evie Tournquist, Jack Andrews or Robbie Hiner singing the words:
Proudly it waves, Old Glory
Over the land of the free
Promise of hope and freedom
Symbol of liberty
Red, white and blue are its colors
Colors both free and clear
Colors with far deeper meaning
Than that may first appear
Red is for the blood of patriots who have died to free us
White is for justice and government of law
Blue is for honor and faith in all we do
This is my flag!
This is Old Glory!
The Red, White and Blue!
I may have gotten a few of those words wrong, but I seem to forget things a bit of late. That’s how I remember it, and I’m thinking about it even more today, the anniversary of the day the Japanese executed a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands, and perhaps because I have family who have served and are serving in some branch of American Military. I know I’ll miss some of you, so bear with me.
My Uncles Dick, Bob, Ron and Russell Meier; my mother’s brothers served. All but Uncle Russ served during WWII. One of them was on Iwo. My Father and Step-father were both Army, bracketing Korea. My brother Alan served post Viet Nam in the Army, and Roger was pre-Desert Storm in the Navy.
My first girlfriend’s father lied about his age to enlist. He was one of Merril’s Marauders and made the infamous Burma march.
My father-in-law was Air Force, as is my sister’s son. Another nephew was just promoted to Gunnery Sergeant in the Corps, and my wife was in the Nave between conflicts. She has a sister and brother who both served, and a nephew who took his tours in Iraq.
My best friend from high school died in ‘Nam – but it took 20 years to catch up with him.
I’m flying Old Glory today, as I do every day, for them, and the ones I never met, but who served – and sometimes died – to protect this nation and the freedoms we all enjoy. And as I do, I am reminded that in the course of your life, there are probably only two individuals who willingly gave their life for you – an American soldier who died to give you freedom, and Jesus Christ who died to give you Salvation.
God Bless them all, and God Bless America.