Those Little Flags

Photo by Dan Meinhard at the Traveling Wall, White Cloud, MI.

The other day, my son asked an innocent question while we were passing a cemetery, "Dad, what are all those little flags for?" Knowing the complex answer, I needed to make it simple for a five year old. My response was this...

"Each American flag represents someone who served in the Armed Forces, like me. The flags mark their graves and show us they sacrificed a part of their life, their time away from family, friends, and the people they love to protect us from people who would like to harm or hurt us. When you drive past a cemetery and see the American flags, you know the grave was for a Veteran who served his country. Some of them died in a battle while others served for several years or more in the military then died in old age. We honor them every year on Memorial Day for their time protecting us from people who would do us harm. We especially honor and remember those who died while in service to our country."

He responded after we had passed the cemetery with, "There were a lot of flags there. Will you have a flag on your grave when you die?" That choked me up. The only thing I could get out was "I would be honored if you would do that for me." I then told him, "Every year I try to place one on your Grandpa's grave, under the redbud tree."

So when you are out driving and see those little flags this weekend and there after, remember why they are there. Remember what Memorial Day is about.

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