My Son's Last Blanket by Amy Branham
We all know the history of the American flag. We know its symbology. White signifies purity and innocence; red signifies valor and bravery; and blue signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice. Each star represents one of the states in the Union.
Driving through my typical American neighborhood, I see that many of my neighbors fly American flags in their front yards. They fly their flags to show their support and love of their country. To them, displaying the flag in their yards is a sign of patriotism.
I do not ever fly or display my flag. My flag is encased in a triangular shaped wooden box on the top of a bookcase in my living room. It is easily visible to all who enter my home. Also encased in this wooden box are the medals my son earned during his service in the Army and the bullet casings from a salute done at his funeral. Each of those casings represents a different element taught in the United States Army -- Duty, Honor, Country.
The American flag means many things to many people. Some wrap themselves in the security of the flag and call themselves "patriotic." Some people burn the flag in an effort to show their displeasure with the American government.
These days, the flag carries and entirely different meaning for me. My flag was my son's last blanket. It covered his wooden coffin, used to signify that he died in the service of his country. My flag carries on it tears of sorrow and mourning for the loss of the son that I will never see again. I followed the colors of my flag in the funeral procession to my son‚s last resting place.
There have been too many of these flags covering the coffins of our war dead from the Iraq war. There have been too many families that have been presented with these flags that covered these coffins.
Please, help those of us who are trying to end this illegal, immoral war. Help us by getting out and voting this election season for the candidate who will do what is right by ending the Iraq war. Honor America's fallen sons and daughters and their sacrifices by voting.
If you do not vote, you have failed them. If you do not vote, their sacrifice will have been for nothing.
Mother of Sgt. Jeremy R. Smith
Nov. 1981 -- Feb. 2004