I thought I had posted the following last year, in memory of our fallen soldiers, but a search of the forum didn't turn it up. If it is a repeat, I don't think many of you will mind.
One thing I ask is that you don't copy it. We depend on the sale of the posters to supplement our income, and every time someone just copies the text, we lose that income.
Have a safe and happy Memorial Day with your families! And don't forget the real reason we observe this day.
"If they don't have woodworking in heaven, I ain't going!!!"
[FONT SIZE="+4"]Permanent Duty Station[/FONT]
The air was so fresh and crisp up there. My only companions were the fluttering butterflies, the gliding birds, and the soaring eagles that circled gracefully above me. With each new breeze I stood out straight and proud. My red and white stripes pointed to the horizon. My majestic blue field, once sprinkled with thirteen stars, shown brightly with stars now numbering fifty. As I looked down upon the people below, it was an honor to know that I was their symbol - the banner of their freedom and determination.
Then one day I felt the tug on my lanyard. I had an uneasy feeling as I drifted limply toward the ground. Halfway down the pole, I stopped for what seemed like an eternity. Then I continued my descent, fluttering into waiting, white-gloved hands. With somber precision I was freed from the snaps that held me.
Soon, I found myself draped over a cold, gray-steel box. I was surrounded by men and women in full military parade dress, but somehow it didn't feel like a parade. I think it was an honor to be chosen for that special duty, but it was hard to feel good as I looked at the grief-stricken face of a young woman veiled in black. Three confused young children stood beside her, the smallest inquiring, "Where's Daddy?" If fabric and stitches could shed tears, I would have flooded the ground around me.[/P]
A kindly looking man, dressed in black, talked of thingS like the body sleeping in death and a great day of resurrection. I realized then that I would be the last blanket to cover this fallen soldier before that blanket of sod would guard and keep him until an angelic bugler would call assembly.
Suddenly, three volleys of shots shattered the silence. As taps played, with a more final tone than I had heard so many evenings before, white-gloved hands again picked me up. With compassion and respect, I was folded one last time and presented to the devastated widow. Words of honor, duty, and sympathy were spoken by an officer who choked back his own tears as he spoke. I felt so sad and alone, when suddenly a flight of my eagle friends flew overhead. But they flew so fast and so loud, unlike the eagles I had known. As quickly as they had appeared, one of them broke off from the flight and veered out of sight.
Now I hang, still folded, in an oak case with a glass panel protecting me from dust and the elements. I don't hang alone, though. On one side of me is a portrait of the man I had enshrouded. On the other side is a medal commemorating his devotion and gallantry.
How I long to again fly unfurled and free so far above the ground, but I know it can never be. I have found my permanent duty station, here in this tribute to a man who valiantly gave his life for the country and people he loved. My only prayer is that the sacrifice I made will mean that no other American flag will ever again have to leave its place flying proudly with the eagles.
Copyright ©1991, Rev. Paul E. Goddard. All rights reserved.