Thursday, July 3, 2008

happy 4th

I went to pick W up from school yesterday and as I was walking out the door his teacher caught me and told me that she wanted to show me something in the classroom. My immediate thought was a cuss word followed by, "Who, or what, did he pee on?"

He didn't pee on anything, thank goodness. He didn't even do anything naughty. What his teacher showed me was something quite remarkable. The class of 2 and 3 year olds had made flags out of construction paper to celebrate the 4th of July. She had given them all big pieces of red paper, some small strips of white paper, a blue square and some star stickers and told them to have at it.

These are the flags the rest of the class made:

And this is the flag W made:

When she showed me his flag, I thought she had made it. It was nearly perfect and looked so different from everyone else's. I asked her if she helped him and she said no, and that she had just shown them a sample flag for a few seconds so he really didn't have anything to copy.

This kid knows his flags. They are his Daddy's flags, and don't try to tell him otherwise. He sees every American flag when we are out and never misses one. He sees flags that I don't see. They are so important to him that he gets really upset if they aren't blowing in the wind because he thinks they are broken. If he sees a "broken" one, he insists that I stop the car to fix it. I can't tell you how many times I have had to explain to him that the Daddy flags aren't broken and I can't fix them but it is still very upsetting for him.

I explained this to his teacher and she started to tear up because she then understood why he took this task so seriously. She was just impressed with the fact that he could put the white stripes on straight and had put the blue square in the right spot. She said that for his age, he shouldn't be able to do that. But once she understood how important the flags are to W, the nearly perfect flag took on an entirely different meaning.

On the way home I asked W where his Daddy was and he told me Daddy was in Iraq. Then I asked him what Daddy was doing in Iraq and he told me that Daddy was helping the flag. And you know what, he's exactly right. That is exactly what Daddy is doing right now; Daddy is helping the flag. W is 2 years old and he gets it. He understands the importance of the flag and they serious nature of what his dad is doing over there. He gets that Daddy has to be gone to help the flag and make things better and he's ok with it. If he can get it, why can't everyone else?

People all over the States are going to be parting without even thinking about our guys over there who are working so desperately to help the flag. Everyone is going to be drinking their beer and eating their hot dogs without even taking into consideration the way that they got their holiday in the first place. They are going to be cooling off in their swimming pools without even silently thanking the people who are over there sweating their butts off in 115 degree weather with 85 pounds of body armor on who are ensuring the fact that we get this holiday next year and the year after and forever after that. They don't get a holiday. They still have to work while everyone else in America gets to enjoy the freedoms they have that are made possible by the very people that are being taken for granted.

Yes, it burns me. And it should burn everyone else. Take a second to remember what that flag really means and who makes it possible for us to celebrate our freedom in the first place. I know W will.


Wilma said...

Here I am, far away, and no one of course realizes it's July 4th. This year I was looking forward to taking Kate to see the parade in town. The kid loves the American flag. She calls every flag she sees "My American Flag".

She doesn't have W's life experience right now, but I hope she'll get it one day.

Your post brought tears to my eyes. I told you before, these kids deserve big medals.

Stefanie said...

Your post made me cry. I am glad that some children out there are raised right and learn a respect for America and the flag. It makes me so sad to see so many kids say well f the government, f the flag and ect. It makes me angry when people don't appreciate the freedoms we have. It really is amazing that we can go to whatever church we want or that we can peaceably protest or that we aren't sent to jail without even a trial to defend ourselves. We are really lucky to be free and to have those who would fight for our freedom. I know that having your husband gone must be really tough. But I am proud of you and him and your little W. Hats off to you.

clanelder said...

Thank you, W., for an incredible lesson..."out of the mouths of babes." And thank you, Jo, for sharing it, pictures and all. I did take time today to remember, pray for and honor M and all those in Iraq and others who are serving our country and have served in the past. With your blog, however, you brought my day to a perfect and profound conclusion.

Michelle said...

Jo, Wow, that was an awesome post. West is really good at crafts, too. He needs to come here and show Walker a thing or two.

Jenn said...

wow. just, wow. The 4th of July sure meant something different to me this year, and I've got my soldier home already. Hugs, Jojo. Hang in there, girl.

Jenni said...

What an amazing story! That W is one wonderful little boy! :)

Andrea said...

Wow what an amazing story. You made me tear up too. How profound that W knows the importance of the flag and how incredible that his flag stood so far apart from his classmates. That is truly amazing, thank so much for sharing.