The Grand Old Flag

My Grandad is very patriotic and I love that about him. For as long as I can remember he has flown a flag from the front of his house. And as all old school gentlemen do, he sticks to the rules about respecting the flag by bringing it in the house each night and when it storms. He’s so patriotic because he fought in the navy during World War II and was assigned to a destroyer in the South Pacific. He knows first-hand the sacrifices that were made to fight for the freedoms we enjoy today.

Last year Grandad had the opportunity to go on the Honor Flight, which is a program to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices by flying these American heroes to Washington D.C. to tour the memorials. It was his first trip to Washington D.C. and it was truly an honor for him.

So why am I telling you all of this about my grandfather? It’s almost July 4th and also because I follow the beautiful work of Skye Hardwick, a photographer in Orange County California, and was inspired by one of her recent posts on Facebook and her blog. She posted some images of a boy running with the flag in a wide open space. She called them the “Freedom Project”. They were amazing. With fluffy clouds overhead, the light in these shots was incredible and makes the flag look almost translucent. She also posted this scripture verse below them…

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

I felt this verse was so appropriate considering most of what we see on the news today is evil and corruption. What a challenge to our nation!

Skye Hardwick’s post inspired me to capture my Grandad with his grand old flag. And, since my kids adore him, I thought they should be in the photo too. This image was not about me getting an incredibly artistic shot, with perfect lighting and in the perfect setting. My Grandad is almost 90 years old, so all I wanted to capture was the moment…the fact that he is still here with us, that my kids have this beautiful relationship with their great-grandfather, and that he still flies his flag with quiet pride for what it stands for. So, this afternoon we grabbed his flag off the front stoop and walked a few doors down to the neighbor’s front yard and snapped off some shots for memory’s sake.

In her post, Skye also typed out a quote by Barbara Bush…

“Where will our country find leaders with integrity, courage, strength—all the family values—in ten, twenty, or thirty years? The answer is that you are teaching them, loving them, and raising them right now.” — Barbara Bush

I can say with the deepest gratitude that my Grandad is a man who embodies these character traits. He has taught me by example about things like kindness, selflessness and serving others. He has loved me unconditionally and been at every single important event in my life. So, this Independence Day, I celebrate my Grandad, a veteran and a great man, and thank him for fighting so long ago for the freedom I still enjoy today. Happy Independence Day!

You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev’ry heart beats true
‘neath the Red, White and Blue,
Where there’s never a boast or brag.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev’ry heart beats true
‘neath the Red, White and Blue,
Where there’s never a boast or brag.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

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