Charlie & Debbie

Weekdays 3:00PM - 7:00PM

This picture was taken on Saturday morning at Caledonia Golf and Fish Club near Myrtle Beach.  The sun was starting to come up and day one of a golf tournament I was playing in was about to begin.  I thought it would just be fun to compete a little bit for the Memorial Day Weekend holiday in between beach sessions and happy hours.  However, what I got was a good reminder for me, and for all of us.

On day two of the tournament, I was paired up to play with a guy named Joe.  He was originally from Rock Hill and had “moved around” a bit in his life, but was now back in the area and loving life.  For the first part of the round, this was all I knew about him.  We made pleasant small talk as we navigated our way around the front nine of True Blue Golf Club, when I inadvertently almost made a huge mistake.

American Flag Flagstick

Every flagstick, in every hole for the weekend at True Blue looked just like this.  Now, golfers will tell you that protocol for flagstick removal during play is to take it out of the hole and set it down on the outskirts of the green.  I was on my way to doing just that when Joe yelled, “WHOA!”

Well, it scared the pants out of me as this guy’s voice had never gotten above casual conversation decibels in our brief time together.  He said, “That’s the American Flag.  It doesn’t touch the ground.”  Of course, I knew this.  If I was in the presence of a “real” American Flag, I would NEVER have let it touch.  But this was just a pennant atop a golf flagstick.  I didn’t even pay it any notice to be honest.  And that’s my problem.  And probably yours too.  Come to find out Joe is a recently retired paratrooper from the 82nd Airborne.  And he never doesn’t recognize Old Glory-in any way, shape, or form.  His love of our country was made very apparent to me.  I was embarrassed by how seemingly apathetic to our country I must have looked to this great man.

I of course, apologized for my ignorance, and he apologized for making me have to change my shorts. <g> We talked a lot for the rest of the round about his career and where all he’d served and his fascinating life in service to our country.  Great guy.

As I was driving back to the condo after the round, I couldn’t stop thinking about Joe and what had occurred.  I think my lack of attention to the flagsticks is sort of a metaphor for how a lot of us view Memorial Day.  We just sort of go through the routine of fun, and cookouts, and parties without paying attention to what this holiday is truly all about.

So, take a moment today.  Use that moment to reflect on our flag, the symbol of the greatest nation the world has ever seen.  Think about the ultimate sacrifice paid by men and women in defense of the freedoms you’re enjoying today under that banner.  Attention must be paid.  It’s been earned.  And it must be appreciated.

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