If you drive through Adrian this weekend (and any patriotic holiday) you will see hundreds of flags that have been provided by Kiwanis Club of Adrian, of which I am a member. Thanks to this club for reminding us to fly the flag.

Flag Day is my dad’s dad’s birthday – my papaw. He would have been 119 years old today (2017).  (It’s interesting to me that the men in my dad’s family were all born on holidays – my dad on Halloween and his brother, Gary, on Independence Day.)

I vividly remember the first time the American flag took on meaning for me. It was in 1976 and I was watching the Olympics. This was during the bicentennial of the U.S. and the middle of the Cold War with Russia.  It was good to see the American flag being raised above all others in honor of the United States’ winner of each event.  I wanted America to win.  I was already a pretty good middle distance runner and I had a dream that maybe I could run in the Olympics and help see the American flag fly above the others.  Well, I wasn’t that good of a runner, but I still was dreaming.

Another patriotic moment for me was when I was a junior in high school. I attended a Pastor’s School near Chicago.  The demise of morals in America was emphasized and the salvation of the Gospel was emphasized.  The only hope for America is Jesus!  At the close of the service, we sang ‘God bless America.’  I have never been emotional, but during that singing I could not stop crying. Some may call it weeping.  But it was uncontrollable.  For the first time I hurt for my country and promised to do what I could to bring America to Jesus.

Dennis Miller visit Josh & Haley at Bethesda.

Fast forward about 30 years. My son, Josh, has decided to serve his country in the Marines.  I was proud of him. But I still remember his look back at us when he left the Detroit airport for Iraq.  Would this be the last look?  Just a few weeks later he was shot in the leg by a sniper in Fallujah. First responding medics said if they would have arrived 30 seconds later he would have died. We spent a month at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

He is now doing wonderful. He still has a limp, but enjoys hunting, fishing, and works on his property.  He’s now a dad! The Christmas after he was shot my sister gave me a surprise. That same year my mom had passed away and as Joanie was cleaning out the basement, she found my dad’s American flag presented at his funeral. She gave it to me in honor of my dad’s Army service & Josh’s Marine service. As I write this, I can see it atop a bookcase in my office (by my dad’s Army picture).  You can read Josh’s story at: http://www.burdinesadventure.blogspot.com/.

I love the American flag.  As I look out my office window, I see 10 U.S. flags lining our church driveway. These represent the men and women who have served our country to fight and protect our freedom. I pray for America! May we return back to love the God who shed His grace on us!

God bless America!