Friday, November 12, 2010

There's 'Fluff' And Then There Is 'Extraordinary'

Veteran's Day got me to thinking, and I'm taking a little break from the 'fluff' of my life to focus on some other more noteworthy subjects for awhile. I'll get back to my family vacation in a week or two.

I've never considered myself a very political person, in fact, I don't much like politics, and I don't much trust politicians, especially 'career politicians'.

And in my younger years I was not overtly patriotic either. I took my country and all the wonderful advantages that she offers for granted. I took my freedom for granted. I have freedom to worship as I choose and if I choose. I could not imagine a life where the government dictates my beliefs. I have freedom to voice an injustice. I have freedom to speak out against my government. I have freedom to voice my opinion even when it is an opinion that differs from the majority. I am free to travel wherever I want in my country, I am free to work where I want and when I want. I am free to join the political party of my choice, and I am free to vote for the candidate of my choice. I never thought about the sacrifices that were made in order for me to enjoy my freedom. I didn't think much about the lives sacrificed in wars. I never thought about the people who fought for my freedom. I never thought about the men and women living through the hell of war, and I never thought about the men and women who did not survive the hell of war. I never thought about the men and woman who have undergone bias, discrimination, ridicule, persecution or imprisonment, all to ensure my rights. Soldiers, protesters, civil rights leaders, and women suffragettes, I didn't examine their lives with the respect and diligence they so deserve.

I've changed a little, and I think I've changed for the better. Below is a copy of an email I received yesterday and I don't want to be 'preach-y' but if an extraordinary war hero wants to fly an American flag on a flagpole in front of his home, I don't see why anyone should have a problem with that:

Remember the guy that Wouldn't take the Flag down?

On June 15, 1919, Van T. Barfoot was born in Edinburg , Tx -- probably didn't
make much news back then.

Twenty-five years later, on May 23, 1944, near Carano , Italy , Van T. Barfoot,
who had enlisted in the Army in 1940, set out to flank German machine gun
positions from which fire was coming down on his fellow soldiers. He advanced
through a minefield, took out three enemy machine gun positions and returned
with 17 prisoners of war.

If that wasn't enough for a day's work, he later took on and destroyed three
German tanks sent to retake the machine gun positions.

That probably didn't make much news either, given the scope of the war, but it
did earn Van T. Barfoot, who retired as a colonel after also serving in Korea and
Vietnam , a Congressional Medal of Honor.

What did make news last week was a neighborhood association's quibble with
how the 90-year-old veteran chose to fly the American flag outside his suburban
Virginia home. Seems the rules said a flag could be flown on a house-mounted
bracket, but, for decorum, items such as Barfoot's 21-foot flagpole were

He had been denied a permit for the pole, erected it anyway and was facing court
action if he didn't take it down. Since the story made national TV, the
neighborhood association has rethought its position and agreed to indulge this
old hero who dwells among them.

"In the time I have left I plan to continue to fly the American flag without
interference," Barfoot told The Associated Press.

As well he should.

And if any of his neighbors still takes a notion to contest him, they might want to
read his Medal of Honor citation. It indicates he's not real good at backing down.



  1. Very nice Eileen. I have heard this story. I know that there are many places that permits are required to erect a flag pole. I can understand in some instances where it may be a safety hazard but this case seems to be one that should FLY so to speak!
    I feel the same way that you do,I just think it takes us a few years to realize how precious our freedoms are and not take them for granted. With age comes understanding, I guess! Love Di ♥

  2. You are so right, EIleen. Our freedoms should never be taken lightly! A great price and sacrifice were paid for us to enjoy them.


  3. It seems so silly what "Neighborhood Associations" find offensive. Know they have their place I suppose but, really, they should done a little research before making themselves look rediculous. I noticed there was no mention of 25 other homeowners erecting flag poles in their yards! Wonderful work this post! Thank you!!! ;) Cathy

  4. What a heart-warming story! May his "tribe" increase.

  5. Wow. I think his flag on that huge pole right by his 'all American' looking house is absolutely beautiful!