Monday, November 3, 2008

Poo and Flags

So there I was, sitting on my front steps happily passing out Halloween candy, when a very cute little Winnie-the-Poo came climbing up the stairs on all fours. (The front door of our townhouse is actually on the second floor, thus stairs on the outside.) Anyway, this extremely cute little Poo was all of 2 or 3-years-old, and was accompanied up the stairs by his "twenty-something" mom. When the Poo reached me, I put some candy in his bag and he promptly fished it out and put it back into my candy bowl. His mom and I laughed, introduced ourselves, and started visiting while the Poo had a great time handing out candy from my bowl to the various witches, transformers, fairies, and vampires that trudged up the stairs. (Did I tell you how cute he was?) Anyway, during my conversation with Poo's mom, she asked me about the flag in the window by my front door. The flag show two blue stars on a white background, with a red border all around. Poo's mom wanted to know where we were from, because she didn't recognize that Country's flag. I told her that being from South Dakota (originally) I was from Fly-Over Country, but that the flag wasn't a Nation's flag; it was a service flag and that the two blue stars represented my two children serving in the United States Armed Forces. I explained that I flew it because I was proud of the service my children have chosen to provide this Nation and that I was proud of them for making that choice. Despite being a bit embarrassed, Poo's mom was extremely gracious and told me I should be proud of my children. It's interesting, isn't it, how little bright, interesting, and educated people know about traditions involving the military?

The Service Flag has been a tradition since World War I, when an Ohioan and Army captain designed it to honor his two sons who were serving with the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe. Of course, the flag quickly became a popular way to honor those serving in the armed forces. On September 24, 1917, an Ohio congressman pressed for adoption on the floor of the House, stating for the Congressional Record that local and state authorities had adopted the service flag, and advocated for national adoption, because, "The world should know of those who give so much for liberty. The dearest thing in all the world to a father and mother — their children." The flags fell out of use during the unpopular Vietnam conflict, but have since come back into use to honor our service members. The United States Code authorizes anyone who has a member of their "immediate" family serving in the armed forces during any period of war or hostilities to display the service flag in the window of their home. Family members are also authorized to wear a lapel pin to honor their serving children or siblings. Organizations are also authorized to fly a service flag to honor members of their organization who serve. Interested and want to know more? Check out the Pentagon's fact sheet on service flags.

UPDATE Poo's gracious mother has sent me flowers along with a note thanking me for letting Poo help pass out my Halloween candy. She may not have known much about military traditions, but she sure knows a lot about being a nice woman and wonderful neighbor.


ToRi and cReW said...

Its your cuz--Tori

anyway, it does amaze me how many people dont know about this flag. I learned about it several years ago and when I see one I get goosebumps. My neighbor 2 houses down has one up for her husband. She has 2 little boys, her husband has never met his youngest son, and I think that she is such a great lady. She was impressed that I actually knew what the flag represents.

lela said...

Hey Tori! Glad you were able to impress your neighbor. Wish more folks knew what the service flag represents. Hope to see you soon.