I was driving to work yesterday saying hateful things to my uncooperative hair, getting stopped at every, single red light and growing increasingly impatient as I secretly cursed the slow-moving guy in front of me for consulting his dashboard GPS on his EVERY move because he was clearly LOST… when I looked out my driver’s side window toward the shopping plaza across the street. On the corner I noticed the flag flying at half-staff and thought to myself with a lump suddenly lodged in my throat: “Oh. Yeah. That’s right.” And just like that, I remembered Sandy Hook. Suddenly none of my petty “issues” mattered AT ALL.
I remembered that somewhere, not too far from here… people are deeply hurting. They are grieving instead of baking cookies and shopping and considering what to stuff inside the stockings. On the week before Christmas—a child’s most cherished holiday—parents are burying their babies instead of reading them stories and tucking them in for a brief winter’s nap. I remembered that somewhere, not too far from here… a community is drowning in devastation as they grapple with the largest, most difficult questions anyone will ever ask.
The flag, flapping silently from it’s revised position only half-way up the pole, was a solid slap in the face forcing me to gain the proper perspective about something as minor as slow-moving traffic. Yet it was an even harsher reminder that so much of what I worry about on a regular basis is utterly futile. But there won’t always be a flag flying at half-staff to serve as such a wake-up call. Eventually the flag will be raised again as we attempt to move forward and the evening news will begin to cover something else.
And while we ought not remain mired in the darkness that so often spreads from unspeakable tragedy, it IS worth pausing to remember that whether we see the flag raised high with pride or lowered with respect in mourning… it’s fabric wraps all the way around us… All of us… Every day. And well, if we can remember that we’re collectively covered by the same cloth… maybe we can remember that this life is about so much more than ourselves. And maybe that’s a start.
6 thoughts on “…and to the Republic for which it stands…”
There is nothing more to say…you covered it so well. God bless that community and Ged bless America.
Thanks Mom. Not many comments on this one but lots of “shares” and so I know people felt similarly in their sentiment. 😉
Poignantly stated, Joanna. I’ve read numerous thoughts on this, but you placed it into words as well as anyone can.
Thank you Donald. There is alot of material out there on this sad, tragic event. At first I thought I had nothing to say to lend my voice to the mix, but seeing the flag that day gave me a bit of a nudge.
Well said. I had the same sort of reminder the other day passing a grocery store. Their flag was a sudden reminder to me, as well.
Thank you for sharing that you were reminded too when you saw the flag. I’ve seen it lowered many times in my life but this one really hit home as a reminder to reflect on that which truly matters most.