This time of year it seems everywhere we turn the world is decorated with red, white, and blue. There are colorful banners, balloons, streamers, and of course the flags. Seeing this outpouring of patriotism brings special joy to those with a loved one serving in our military. I should know, our oldest son went straight from high school graduation to Marine Corps boot camp to Iraq, where he served two tours as a frontline infantry Marine.
I’d always considered myself patriotic. I love our country and have always supported our military—at least from a distance. Yet it wasn’t until after our son enlisted that I discovered the deep meaning of patriotism and the true price our freedom carried. Even now, I can’t get through the Star Spangled Banner without tears. But it’s the flags that cause a stirring in my soul.
Now, every flag I see tells a story.
Some of them are easy to see as they wave over businesses and in front of massive buildings. They measure yards across and are visible miles away. I love to watch them billow and snap in the wind, colors popping in the sunlight. Their size brings to mind the thousands who have put their lives on hold and spent time serving in our country’s military.
In contrast, I also see smaller flags in residential areas and in the rural areas I drive through. I remember one particular flag, flying proudly from a rusty mailbox. The edges were frayed and the colors had paled in the hot sun of many summers. It whispered the story of our veterans who had paid a hard price for their service. They may no longer be whole, but they still stand proudly for the country they served.
During this time of year, it’s not uncommon to see multiple flags, lined up with mathematical precision. Every line straight no matter what angle I view them from. The symmetry of these banners reminds me of those now serving in our military. In my minds eye I can see them standing tall, exhibiting excellence and pride in their service around the globe.
At times, the flags I pass hang limp, with no wind to give them life. They hug the poles that support them and bring tears to my eyes as I remember those who have paid the ultimate price. The sight of those flags always reminds me to pray for the families they’ve left behind.
One day, as I stood high up in an office building overlooking Saint Louis, I caught a glimpse of the familiar red, white, and blue reflected in the mirrored building across from me. I realized there was a parade, far down on the street below. I couldn’t see the street from my vantage point, but the huge flag being carried was a shattered reflection in the squares of mirrored glass of a nearby building. That flag’s reflection reminded me that whatever happens our flag still flies—shining bright as a beacon of hope around the world.
About today’s guest:
Edie Melson is a long-time friend and gifted author of numerous books, including her latest, While My Soldier Serves, a book of prayers for those with a loved one in the military.
Thousands of families send loved ones off to fight on a daily basis. These families spend a lot of time living in a world out of control. This kind of stress can take an incredible toll, but there is hope. When we feel helpless, we can take our fears to the One who loves us more than anything and holds the universe in His hands.
In Edie’s book you’ll find the words to help usher you into God’s presence. Says Edie, “They’re just a starting point, written to help people find their own voice as they call out on behalf of the one they love.” These prayers are a place you will want to visit again and again, not only for your soldier, but also as a place to begin taking your own fears to God… http://www.whilemysoldierserves.com
As a sought-after speaker, Edie has encouraged and challenged audiences across the US. Connect with her on her website http://www.EdieMelson.com and through Facebook and Twitter.
Co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference
Military Family Blogger at Guideposts.org
Senior Editor at Novel Rocket
Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy
Author of Connections: Social Media and Blogging Techniques for Writers
Author of Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle