Every morning while Lizzie and I walk down the street, there is a man putting flags on his flagpole and raising them high.  We exchange random hello’s, but we don’t talk.  I learned months ago, when I first started noticing him, that his morning ritual is very personal and it takes him back to a place where it all began.  The look on his face, the care that he takes, the respect in handling and carefully unfolding the flags is worth watching over and over again.  I imagine a man in uniform, about 50 years younger taking the same time and effort in hanging flags.  The American Flag is first.  The second flag looks to be some kind of military flag, perhaps his own regime from years past in the military.  Although I’ve never seen him take the flags off the pole, I watch him as he meticulously and perfectly unfolds each flag before hanging them every single morning.  He hangs them in record time, takes a quick second to admire them, then goes in the house.  I always wonder if he says a silent prayer to buddies lost, or for the men and women that have served after him.  Perhaps on this day he is praying for the Chief of Police who lost his life last week in a drug bust.  He seems totally engaged in his morning ritual and I never want to ruin it for him by talking.  Some mornings, he just gives me an acknowledging nod while I wave as to not break the silence.  He likes that I get it and don’t crowd him with ridiculous morning chatter.  He always gives Lizzie a glance, but nothing more.  She seems OK with it.

He’s the hero that gives back silently, every day.  The raising of the flags is a daily reminder that every day is a gift, wrapped up in stars and stripes.

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