Monday, June 29, 2009

The Shadow of the Flag

I could take no more, and I nearly collapsed on the front porch step. I had a ways to go before I finished my Saturday chores, but I've been way too inactive these days, and it was either take a break and catch my breath or become the center of a dramatic front yard 911 emergency scene.

I chose the porch step... and with a glass of ice cold water in hand, I attempted to undo the effects of 3 1/2 hours of yard work in the Florida summer sun by doing something I rarely do... being still... even on the inside.

I sat to calm my heart rate as the sun burned like a laser across my shoulders. With my chin in my hands, I breathed a deep sigh and just enjoyed the scene laid out before me, topped with an overwhelmingly beautiful sapphire sky. Ahhhh... There was a nice little ocean breeze carrying the scent of the freshly cut, ultra-green grass my way, and the hum of the air conditioner nearby kept me company along with my front porch thoughts and the trickling beads of sweat running down the side of my face. Neighbors passed and waved, birds were singing pleasant tunes and my mind was lulled by the the gentle sound of the dull flapping overhead as Queen Palm shadows swayed around me, briefly cooling me as they passed.

That sun was fierce though. I started to wish some of that shade would just stay put long enough to cool me off before my skin disintegrated. Then, as if on cue, a cheerful breeze kicked up, and a refreshing shadow fell over me completely. It was heaven. What a relief. I looked up, and with a sinking sense of guilt, I realized that I had been unmindfully sitting all that time in the shadow of the flag. I cringed. While enjoying the colors around me, I had forgotten the colors of Old Glory that snapped to attention just above me out of sight. Yet there it was unfurled and faithfully laying it's shadow over me.

I was sitting in freedom on my own front porch, sipping cool water, practically swimming in green grass and touched by a salty breeze. The men for whom I pray each day as I pass that flag, have in contrast, faithfully traded treasures like my front porch moment, and family members like those on the other side of my front door, to stand against the enemy of our freedom and keep that enemy from the street where I live. It is these men who have purchased this beautiful Saturday scene for me.

Even now they've got me covered. They are the faithful and protective shadow that covers our entire nation like that flag waving overhead... covering it with their one and only life. Sadly, they rarely show up on the American radar, yet they relentlessly defend our personal American freedom even when we don't bother to look their way.

This 4th of July, as you enjoy the fireworks that light up the night, and as that beat pounds through your chest, remember that even at that moment, you are standing in the shadow of someone who is paying for the gift of your liberty with his sacred honor. As you "ooh" and "ahhh" at the sight and sound of the rockets' red glare, keep in mind that the heavy boom of explosions that echo to his very core day and night does not come from a colorful, entertaining display. It is a fearsome assault he endures to maintain and defend our incredible life of freedom. He faithfully engages that battle so we can lie back on a blanket and enjoy the show in the greatest nation on earth.

When the colors fill the sky, take a minute to ask God to go above and below, before and behind and on every side of our "boys"... to wrap his protective arms around them, whispering into each one's ear that they are loved and they are not alone.

Then pick up a pen and "whisper" a word of encouragement and thanks of your own to one of these men of valor who give all while life goes on in your America. Send it to, and it will be delivered with an "Operation Buddy" package of goodies to the sons of other moms and dads, husbands of other wives, fathers of little ones who wait for daddy back home. To these Marines, we owe a debt we rarely begin to fathom.

Celebrate your freedom this 4th of July, and remember those who represent the flag whose shadow is always waving a reminder of our freedom. And when the colors explode across the sky, instead of "ooh" and "ahh", perhaps it might be more appropriate to whisper a heartfelt "OOOH RAH".



  1. WOW! As I read and scrolled down through your posting, I found myself Thanking God once more for placing me in this great and noble country of the USA. I am a proud American and love our flag . It is a beautiful flag in it's design but it's the history and what our country stands for in the world that makes me proud. I have two nephews currently serving in the Air Force and I am so proud and grateful for every person who puts on the uniform and sacrifices so much, even their own lives, to keep us safe and to protect our freedoms.

    Thanks Semper Gumby for the great and inspiring part that you play in showing them our nations appreciation and thanks.
    In LIne With The Word

  2. Wow you have missed your calling. You have a flow with words that can make one feel the moment you describe.

    Thank you for reminding us to take the time to remember ALL who serve.

    What an awesome tribute to our troops and the flag they so bravely defend.

  3. No words can describe the feeling I have after reading that post - THANK YOU for delivering that feeling and also for sharing an address so that our feelings can be delivered to those who are proudly defending our flag.

    I can only hope that our sons, brothers, husbands, wives and daughters get the support they need when their time to serve "in country" comes.

    My thanks and my prayers to all, here and abroad.

  4. To echo everyone else - WOW! That was beautiful and you do have a way with words! As I watch the fireworks this year, you can believe I will be thinking of our brave and wonderful military and praying for them. Thank you.

  5. Thank you for putting to paper words that we feel in our heart and soul, but have trouble putting to paper. Your story touched me as it will many others. Thank You so much for sharing. I only hope that our troops know that so many people support them and their effforts and pray for them daily. Prayers that they are safe and return home as soon as possilbe and that they know they are loved more than mere words can express.