Ragged Old Flag…

“Please accept this flag on behalf of a grateful nation…”

My uncle Mike passed away the same day as my mother.  Both were very practical folks and knowing that people would travel great distances to pay their respects, they must have figured consecutive funerals would make it easier for everyone.

Uncle Mike was a WWII veteran, as were his 4 brothers, and he was laid to rest at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Winchendon, MA on Friday, February 16th, 2007. Mike was in the infantry, went into Normandy on the day after D-Day, and fought in Patton’s 3rd Army.

At his funeral, I was sitting near my Aunt Gladys – Mike’s widow – when a Marine in full dress uniform presented her with a neatly folded flag and, while a distant bugler played Taps, respectfully uttered these words that still give me chills:

“Please accept this flag on behalf of a grateful nation…”

Uncle Mike wasn’t a career military man, nor was he an officer or even an NCO.  He was a grunt, a foot solider, a regular guy living a normal life who was called to serve his country.  After the war he settled down, raised a family and became a first rate plumbing and heating professional.

And he was my Godfather.

And more than 60 years later, the nation was still grateful for his service.

So no plumbing, heating or HVAC this weekend….just some memories from a grateful nephew.

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”

- General George S. Patton,


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