The Flags

I'm sick (again).  I didn't sleep a heck of a lot last night (again) as a result.  It rained yesterday so I didn't walk.  I figured I was sick, I'd sleep in a bit and I reset the alarm at 3:30 this morning for 6 AM instead of 4:52.

But I woke up at 4:45 and despite feeling crappy I decided to go for my morning walk.  I wasn't going to push myself.  I wasn't going to go far.  

As I started out, I had to take a slight detour as I encountered a skunk rummaging through some trash.  So instead of just sticking around my immediate neighborhood, as I had planned, I headed a different way.  I still intended to stick relatively close to home (as opposed to my longer route), but I encountered yet another skunk. He definitely saw me.  I saw his tail go up and I crossed the street pretty darned quick.  Clearly, I needed to change my plan for the morning walk.

So I headed downtown, as I usually do when I am doing a longer walk.  And as I got closer to the town square, I saw them.  It was still dark (and overcast), but there were flashlights to partially illuminate the green.  There were probably about a dozen people (I didn't stop to count).  They were carefully lining up hundreds of tiny little American flags.  They were filling the square with them, as they have for years.  (I'm sorry to say I don't know how many years these dedicated individuals have taken on this task.)

I kept walking, but turned the corner two blocks up (not going as far as I usually do) and headed back towards the square.  They were still there.  I think there were even more volunteers at this point.  The green was not yet completely filled, but I knew it would be soon.

Many people will pass by the square this morning and see all these flags.  The middle school children will pass them as they head into their classrooms this morning.  I don't think anyone who sees them will NOT be moved.  It is a simple and beautiful tribute.

But for me, even more beautiful than these flags blowing in the breeze was seeing these people so carefully planting and lining up all of this flags.  Making sure that every line was just right.  Making sure that once again this tribute to those whose lives were taken 14 years ago was perfect.  It's the people behind the flags that moved me this morning.  Faces that I could not see; names that I do not know.  Just human beings who care and remember.  People who have dedicated their time so that we don't forget.  (How could we EVER forget?)  Those little flags that flap in the breeze today; they are there for a reason.  We must never forget.

To those volunteers who worked so carefully this morning, I don't know who you are, but thank you.  Thank you for this year.  Thank you for the past years.  And thank you for the years to come.

Amended:  On my morning walk this morning (9/12) I was able to get these photos.  (Since I "slept in" till 7 on this Saturday morning).  


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