Grandpop's Old Tattered Flag By Donna Gaston, October 2002

With my Dad's recent passing into eternal life, I wanted to have a simple tribute to a man of simple means, a private and very artistic man. It seemed only right to have a small service of family and friends at my home.

So, on a Sunday, his usual day to visit with us and sit in the yard enjoying nature in the mountains, we gathered under an old tattered flag that once belonged to my grandfather, and lifted a beer in toast to Pop. I told everyone the following story…

About a year or so ago, my folks told me they were sorting through some 'stuff' to lighten their load and help out the church's upcoming rummage sale, and was there anything I wanted them to save and send to me, I asked if they still had the old flag, my dad said, "That's what you want, the old flag?"
My reply, "Yep". I received it a week later.

I explained to my small gathering that I used to play under the flag when it was hung on the front porch where it blew in the breezes and was so big it would just barely scrape along the porch. One day I realized Pop was hanging the flag on a day in June not May or July and I asked him why. All he would tell at that time was he always hung the flag on June 6th. "OK" I said, what did I know I was just a kid then.

Since June of this year I've learned more of my father and the significance of June 6th, D-Day. He was there and told me he would never ever forget the frightened faces of the soldiers that his ship, the 'USS Samuel Chase,' transported to the shores of Normandy. Then after the battle this same ship became the hospital ship returning the wounded to the destroyers for transport home.

Upon reflection of this old tattered, torn, holey, 48 star flag, that my dad was so careful in hanging was my father's yearly tribute to those many men. And I'm sure somehow, somewhere he got a salute in his ritual too, though I don't recall ever seeing, but this was his way of paying respect to those dedicated service men.

So it seems only fitting for me to pay tribute to him with this story and a promise that I will continue his tribute to our Veterans by hanging the old, tattered, torn flag at my home each year and pass this on to my sons, who now know the story that has only come Full Circle in the last three months.