I came out from our bedroom after putting the tiniest one to sleep. I heard the crackling of a fire and came into the living room, seeing my Soldier and my battle buddy standing in front of the fire place. Something strange was in there.
“What is it?” I realized as soon as I asked–our Flag.
“It was tattered.” he said, watching diligently.
That flag waved outside our home everyday he was gone. Only twice did I take it down, because of storms ripping through the area. As soon as they passed, the flag went back up. That flag represented so much to me. I saw it everyday that I came and went from our house. My daughter somehow learned to call it “Daddy’s Flag.” I was sad–it was a very important symbol for me.
It was tattered, though. Threads hung from the hem that was falling out. The strings were wrapped around the pole from the wind. The colors were faded, and the material dirty. It had fought hard and it was time to retire it.
Maybe that’s why that flag was so important to me. That flag was new when he left–bright, clean, ready. It stood tall in the hot summer sun, the bitter cold, the occasional rain. Despite the circumstances, it never waivered. And it survived. The end of the deployment found it tattered and worn. But, so much more beautiful than when he left. It had scars. It had stories. It had pride.
I wound my arm around my Soldier’s waist.
Yes, time to retire it. Time for calm. Time to hunker down and enjoy some peace. Tattered. But proud.