The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Do You Know The Cost?

by Elaine Slater Reese

June 14th 2009-Do you remember it is Flag Day? Do you display the American Flag? Do you know how to care for, respect, and fly it? Do you know any of the history of our flag?

Can you leave it outside at all times? How do you fold the flag? What does one do when the flag is passed by?

I recently made a trip to Liberty Flag, a distributor in our area. Thinking of the current economy and the many changes in the way some Americans think, I asked the clerk if they had noticed much change in their business. "Absolutely not," she replied. "Those who are patriotic stay patriotic."

Those words keep echoing in my mind. While there, I purchased a small book called HONOR OUR FLAG. It has concise answers and information regarding all aspect of the American Flag. When I was in the eighth grade (many years ago), our teacher taught us everything about the flag that I now read in this little book.

It makes my heart sink to know that there are those now who feel no debt or respect for this symbol of America.

A polyester flag to replace the one in front of our house costs $29.95. A nylon one is $21.95. The clerk told us that cotton ones don't fly unless there is a constant strong wind.

But as I stood there in that room surrounded by flags of all sizes and materials, the dollar cost suddenly didn't matter. In my mind, I saw the smiling face of five year old Johnny Phillips as he so often played in his father's blacksmith shop in the small town where I grew up. And I remembered the day Johnny came back to the village - a young soldier returned from Viet Nam in a box.

And I could see the rows and rows of stones in Arlington Cemetery. I thought of the Gold Star Mother (one who has lost a son in battle) who sat near me at the Memorial Day Service. All these years later, the tears trickled down when I inquired about her son. "He was only seventeen when he left," she said.

THE COST OF THE AMERICAN FLAG? Many, many have fought and given their lives that you and I might have the freedoms we so take for granted. Unless it was your son or your daughter - or my son or my daughter, we have no idea how expensive the flag really is! IT COSTS A LIFETIME OF HEARTBREAK!