~“Got it?” he asked, teeth clenched around a carpenter’s pencil.
I held the wood steady against the mark he’d made, and nodded, “yep, looks good.”
He pressed the nail-gun against the board, I braced for the blast…but Glenn walked up and stood beside his friend.
Glenn’s mouth started to quiver. “Dick, will you…or let me?” He lifted his sunglasses and wiped watery eyes with the back of his hand. “Yours is—” his voice broke, “ripped.”
Dick looked at the flag tucked tight under Glenn’s arm. Instead of pulling the trigger, he pulled the gun, off the board, and set it on the ground. All work on the remodeling project stopped. A more important work had begun.
Glenn is eighty, Dick is seventy-nine.
In the front yard, thirty feet up, the flag flew. I couldn’t see it at first, but near the bottom edge there was a three inch tear.
A holy convocation had begun and I could feel it in the atmosphere. I swallowed hard. The whole world stopped—and stood at attention. The only sound was the cadence of the flag and its clasp, tapping out TAPS. The changing of the guard had begun. The soldiers’ eyes locked and Glenn gave an almost undetectable nod. Dick started lowering the flag from a sky that had never looked so blue.
passed from hand
I couldn’t breathe
the new flag
and the men shook hands for a job well done;
a handshake that held years of blood and sweat and tears; and hearts filled with honor and integrity and love for God and family and country.
I knew right then and there
I was standing on holy ground,
and that true patriots are still alive and well.
God bless America.