Stories of why the flag matters so deeply
October 24, 2017 3:00 AM
by Scott Schettler
A few flag encounters I recall.
It’s 1968 and we’re living across from an elementary school in Las Vegas. It begins to pour, an especially hard desert storm. I’m looking out of the front window of the house we just bought and I see something that’s still a vivid memory to this day. A school janitor is outside in the storm taking the American Flag down. Protocol says the flag should never touch the ground, be left out in the rain or outside at night unless there’s a light shining on it.
Another story involves Vincent Lombardi, who I named our son after by the way. He flew to the west coast to personally thank an SDSU football player who protected the flag from a group of fellow students who wanted to burn it. This kid, must have been a defensive tackle or something, stood at the bottom of the flag pole and made sure no one got the flag.
I taught a karate class in my later years in Las Vegas. During a scheduled kids group picture, the background setup was a huge American Flag that stretched partly across the floor. Three young boys whose father was stationed at Nellis wouldn’t join the picture because they wouldn’t step on the flag. God Bless ‘em.
A bit closer to my heart. My dad brought a Japanese hinomaru yosegaki flag home from the brutal battle for Okinawa as we took the island back from the Japanese forces. It’s a simple Rising Sun symbol on a silk flag that relatives and friends sign with well wishes that a Japanese solider takes into battle with him. I don’t honor this flag of course, but to this soldier it was worth dying for just as thousands of our young soldiers died on that Island so our flag could fly there and back home.
There are many, many inspirational flag stories especially of flag-draped caskets coming home. Not quite that monumental but did you see the recent picture of the three roofers standing on a roof with their hands over their hearts? Down the street, in Maine, a high school football game was about to begin and the roofers could hear our National Anthem. This picture should hang in every NFL locker room. Do you think even one protesting player or owner would get it?
Take care, Scotty, www.wiseguys.com