Memorial Day: Flag Stories

By Edie Melson

This time of year it seems everywhere we turn the world is decorated with red, white, and blue. There are colorful banners, balloons, streamers, and of course the flags. Seeing this outpouring of patriotism brings special joy to those with a loved one serving in our military.

I should know, our oldest son went straight from high school graduation to Marine Corps boot camp to Iraq, where he served two tours as a frontline infantry Marine.

I’d always considered myself patriotic. I love our country and have always supported our military—at least from a distance. Yet it wasn’t until after our son enlisted that I discovered the deep meaning of patriotism and the true price our freedom carried. Even now, I can’t get through the Star Spangled Banner without tears. But it’s the flags that cause a stirring in my soul.

Now, every flag I see tells a story.

Some of them are easy to see as they wave over businesses and in front of massive buildings. They measure yards across and are visible miles away. I love to watch them billow and snap in the wind, colors popping in the sunlight. Their size brings to mind the thousands who have put their lives on hold and spent time serving in our country’s military.

In contrast, I also see smaller flags in residential areas and in the rural areas I drive through. I remember one particular flag, flying proudly from a rusty mailbox. The edges were frayed and the colors had paled in the hot sun of many summers. It whispered the story of our veterans who had paid a hard price for their service. They may no longer be whole, but they still stand proudly for the country they served.

During this time of year, it’s not uncommon to see multiple flags, lined up with mathematical precision. Every line straight no matter what angle I view them from. The symmetry of these banners remind me of those now serving in our military. In my minds eye I can see them standing tall, exhibiting excellence and pride in their service around the globe.

At times, the flags I pass hang limp, with no wind to give them life. They hug the poles that support them and bring tears to my eyes as I remember those who have paid the ultimate price. The sight of those flags always reminds me to pray for the families they’ve left behind.

One day, as I stood high up in an office building overlooking Saint Louis, I caught a glimpse of the familiar red, white, and blue reflected in the mirrored building across from me. I realized there was a parade, far down on the street below. I couldn’t see the street from my vantage point, but the huge flag being carried was a shattered reflection in the squares of mirrored glass of a nearby building. That flag’s reflection reminded me that whatever happens our flag still flies—shining bright as a beacon of hope around the world.


While My Soldier Serves

Thousands of families send loved ones off to fight on a daily basis. These families spend a lot of time living in a world out of control. This kind of stress can take an incredible toll, but there is hope. When we feel helpless, we can take our fears to the One who loves us more than anything and holds the universe in His hands.

In this book you’ll find the words to usher you into His presence. These prayers are a place to visit again and again as you take your own fears to God. They’re just a starting point, written to help you find your own voice as you call out on behalf of the one you love.

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Find your voice, live your story…is the foundation of Edie Melson’s message, no matter if she’s addressing parents, military families, readers of fiction or other writers. As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world.

Her passion to help those who are struggling find the strength they need to triumph is reflected in the characters she creates and the insight she shares. Connect with her on her website, through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Find her books on Amazon.com.

 

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A LARGE Act of Kindness

memorial flagsOur military is responsible for many of the most selfless acts for humanity. Men and women laying their lives down for one another is the ultimate sacrifice. Today, Tamera Lynn Kraft celebrates Memorial Day with her post…

 

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was officially observed on May 30, 1868 to decorate the graves of soldiers who died during the Civil War. After World War One, it changed to become a day to honor American soldiers who died during wartime throughout American history. Later the name was changed to Memorial Day.

The following list the wars and the number of soldiers who died in battle only. There were many more who died from disease and other factors. All figures are approximate.

American Revolution (1775-1783): 4,435 deaths

War of 1812 (1812-1815): 2,260 deaths

Indian Wars (1817-1898): 1,000 deaths

Mexican War (1846-1848): 1,733 deaths

Civil War (1861-1865): Union deaths 140,414; Confederate deaths 74,524

Spanish American War (1898): 385 deaths

World War 1 (1914-1918): 53,402 deaths

World War 2 (1939-1945): 291,557 deaths

Korean War (1950-1953) 33,741 deaths

Vietnam War (1954-1975) 47,424 deaths

Persian Gulf War (1990-1991) 147 deaths

Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan (2001-present) 1,030 deaths

Iraq War (2003-present) 4,491 deaths

We honor those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Please comment by listing names of those you know who have died in service to their country and the war the fought in.

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.  ~Joseph Campbell

TAMERA LYNN KRAFT has always loved adventures and writes Christian historical fiction set in America because there are so many adventures in American history. Tamera is celebrating her thirty-first anniversary with her loving husband this year. She has two grown children, one daughter-in-law, a foster daughter, and four grandchildren. Tamera is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire For Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist. She has curriculum published and is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.