This post is not about what it was supposed to be about. I’ll warn you now. You see, when I woke up this morning I knew that this post was going to be about Patrick completing the first grade. How far he had come this year and how much I dearly loved his teacher and was so sad to say goodbye to her. But that never happened. Instead I wrote a couple other articles that were due and then I got the kids ready to attend our first ever flag retirement ceremony. I got Patrick into his Cub Scout uniform and off we went.
I stood there in silence watching the tattered flag come down, listening to the boys play taps and watching my son follow the lead of the older boys while folding the flag. The only other sound was the wind. My heart swelled with pride as I snapped picture after picture of what felt like a perfect moment. I thought of the war. I thought of the military and I thought of how much I love that damn flag.
And I thought of my Grandpa. WWII Air Force pilot. A patriot in every sense of the word. Old school. I thought of how cool he would think it was that Patrick was taking part in such an honored ceremony.
Then it was over. The moms chatted while the kids ate their goldfish and drank some water while they sat in the sun. Today is the first day of summer vacation after all. The boys were all antsy to get out their uniforms and into their swim shorts. To go get ice cream and play on the rope swing out back. Because that’s what little boys do in the summer. So we jumped in the car and headed home.
We got home and I noticed the caller ID blinking, it was my dad.
While we stood honoring the flag and listening to taps my grandpa was passing away.
It’s only been a few hours. I’m still in shock and trying to process it all. There’s a lot of stuff for me to process.
But he is where he wanted to be. He is no longer sick he is no longer old and though he may not have realized it, he left this world as his great-grandson respectfully said goodbye to a U.S. flag which had flown high for all to see, until it’s time was done.
Just like my grandpa.