From the Soldier side: It’s Flag Day (in the USA for my readers in other countries)
There are some special days when many folks put up the American Flag. I know some who fly theirs every single day. I regret that if I left mine up all the time, some delinquent would steal It.—which should be a special sort of crime I think.
I’ll ask both the Vets who read this and others, what does the Flag mean to you. I know I have folks from other countries reading, so I’ll ask you the same question. Your country’s flag should mean something to you. (I have a flag from each country I’ve “visited” out of a matter of respect for that country, but I only fly one outside my home.) If you live in some really screwed up country, maybe you don’t care about your flag. Sorry about your luck. (It's funny, I've been to some countries that have no runny water, but they have internet and cell phones.)
When I was about 19 years old…a young Private First Class in the US Army in the famous Berlin Brigade – Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry C/2/6, we’d have to pull some kind of guard duty every few months. Life was: Go to the field, go to training, go to guard duty, then go to the field, then go to training, then go on guard duty...repeat.
One type of guard duty we had was called “Brigade Guard”. This was guarding the Brigade Headquarters and special ammo points. This was mostly for show, but we took it serious because our sergeants wouldn’t let it be any other way. We were not really concerned about what anybody else thought, but we wanted to impress our sergeants—we had to since we looked up to them as some kind of Gods or something. After all, they were all Viet Nam Vets.
This type of guard duty required that we have two types of uniforms ready. The Army “Class A’s” with all your awards and stuff (I think I had one ribbon back then) and the old OD Green Fatigues. The Class A’s were worn with jump boots tucked into the pants –“bloused.” The Fatigues were highly starched and pressed--- like cardboard. We were inspected before each guard mount and if we weren’t perfect, the sergeant would send us back to our room to correct the problem.
The jump boots were highly polished, so shiny, that they looked like glass when we were done. Just to help them shine a little bit better, we’d put a little Glo-Coat floor wax on them. Man what a shine. Good thing we didn’t have to kick anybody’s ass, or the shine would have cracked off.
I figured the first time I was going on Brigade Guard that I’d get stuck on the ammo point. After all, I was the new guy just out of AIT (Advanced Idiot Training).
The Platoon Sergeant looked at me, asked me some questions about my “General Orders” and such. Then he told me to put on my Class A’s…I was going to be on the Flag Detail.
This elicited a bit of bitching from some of those who’d been there longer than me. This was an honor…and the best detail. All we had to do was raise the flags in the morning and take them down in the afternoon. We didn’t have to rotate on and off a 4 hour guard post every 8 hours. Cool!
I don’t know why, but every time I stood by the Berlin Brigade flag pole and raised or lowered the flags each day, I felt something special.
OK, don’t tell anybody I got all warm and fuzzy, it’d ruin my image.