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
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
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.