Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Shadow of the Flag

The piece below is an updated version of one I wrote in 2009 while my son was serving in the Marine Corps.

I could take no more, and I nearly collapsed on the front porch step. I had a ways to go before I finished my Saturday chores, and it was either take a break and catch my breath or become the center of a dramatic front yard emergency scene.

I chose the porch step... and with a glass of ice cold water in hand, I attempted to undo the effects of 3 1/2 hours of yard work in the Florida Summer sun by doing something I rarely do... being still.

I sat to calm my heartrate as the sun burned like a laser across my shoulders. With my chin in my hands, I breathed a deep sigh and enjoyed the scene laid out before me, which was topped with an overwhelmingly beautiful sapphire sky.

Ahhhh... There was a nice little ocean breeze carrying the scent of the freshly cut, ultra-green grass my way, and the hum of the air conditioner nearby kept me company along with my front porch thoughts and the trickling beads of sweat running down the side of my face. Neighbors passed and waved, birds were singing pleasant tunes and my mind was lulled by the the gentle sound of the dull flapping overhead as Queen Palm shadows swayed around me, briefly cooling me as they passed.

That sun was fierce though. I started to wish some of that shade would just stay put long enough to cool me off before my skin disintegrated. Then, as if on cue, a cheerful breeze kicked up, and a full and refreshing shadow fell over me. It was heaven.

What a relief.

I looked up, and with a sinking sense of guilt, I realized that I had been unmindfully sitting all that time in the shadow of the flag. I cringed. While enjoying the colors around me, I had forgotten the colors of Old Glory that snapped to attention just above me out of sight. Yet there it was unfurled and faithfully laying it's shadow over me.

I was sitting in freedom on my own front porch, sipping cool water, practically swimming in green grass and touched by a salty breeze.

The men for whom I pray each day as I touch and pass that flag, have in contrast, faithfully traded treasures like my front porch moment and family members like those on the other side of my front door to stand against the enemies of our freedom, and to keep those enemies from the street where I live.
It is these men who have maintained this beautiful Saturday scene for me. Even now they've got me covered. They are the faithful and protective shadow that covers our entire nation like that flag waving overhead... covering it with each of their one and only lives.

Sadly, they only occasionally show up on the American radar, yet they relentlessly defend our personal American freedom even when we don't bother to look their way.
Public domain image: acclaimimages.com
Public Domain: acclaimimages.com
This 4th of July, as you enjoy the fireworks that light up the night, and as that beat pounds through your chest, remember that even during that moment, you are standing in the shadow of someone who is paying for the gift of your liberty with his sacred honor.
Public Domain: acclaimimages.com
As you "ooh" and "ahhh" at the sight and sound of the rockets' red glare, keep in mind that the heavy boom of explosions that echo to his very core does not come from a colorful, entertaining display; it is a fearsome assault he endures to maintain and defend our incredible life of freedom. He faithfully engages in battle so we can lie back on a blanket and enjoy the show in the greatest nation on earth.

When the colors fill the sky, take a minute to ask God to go above and below, before and behind and on every side of our "boys"... to wrap his protective arms around them...

...whispering into each one's ear that they are loved, remembered and that they are not alone.

Celebrate your freedom this 4th of July, and remember those who represent the flag whose shadow is always waving a reminder of our freedom.

When the colors explode across the sky...
...instead of "ooh" and "ahh",
perhaps it might be more appropriate to breathe a heartfelt

Happy Independence Day!

I'll be sharing this at:

Open Call Tuesday @ Salt Tree
Tuesday's Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

mop it up mondays

Get Schooled Saturday @ Too Much Time
Spotlight Saturday @ Classy Clutter
Show & Tell Saturday @ Be Different Act Normal
Hodgepodge Friday @ It's A Hodgepode Life
Tickled Pink Friday @ 504 Main
Inspiration Friday @ At the Picket Fence
Creative Things Thursday @ The Vintage Farmhouse
Wednesdays Adorned From Above @ Adorned From Above
Live Laugh Party @ Live, Laugh, Rowe
Made You Look @ Made in a Day
Share Your Cup Thursday @ Have Another Cup of Mrs. Olson
Time Travel Thursday @ The Brambleberry Cottage
Open House Wednesday @ No Minimalist Here
Independence Day Party @ Create with Joy
Inspire Me Monday @ Create with Joy

What's It Wednesday @ Ivy & Elephants
Share the Love Wednesday @ Very Merry Vintage Style
All Star Block Party @ Full Circle Creations
Primp Your Stuff @ Primp
Wow us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style 
Your Whims Wednesday @ My Girlish Whims
Cowgirl Up @ Cedar Hill Ranch
Think on These Things @ Grateful, Prayerful, Thankful Heart


  1. Liz, thank you so much for the military photos you posted. Our grandson, Nick, just returned from his 2nd deployment in Afghanistan. He's a Marine sniper and, sadly, he lost a very close friend on this last tour. My husband, Bob, is retired from the Air Force and caught two tours of Vietnam. Military families really appreciate the support. Have a great 4th.

  2. I loved this! Thanks so much for sharing it. My nephew joined the Marine Corps right out of high school this last year. He's still in training but he signed up for 5 years. So thanks to all that serve! Have a Happy 4th!


  3. Amen!
    This is beautiful. A very important and VERY SIGNIFICANT reminder.
    Thanks. Thanks to the men and women who serve. Thanks be to God and to Him be ALL GLORY!

  4. Oh wow... you have just taken my breath away!!! What an amazing and AWE inspiring post!!!


  5. What a beautiful post. Have a fabulous 4th and thanks for linking up to Share the Love Wednesday!

  6. A beautiful tribute to your son. I hope he and the rest of your family enjoys a Happy Independence Day.

  7. God Bless your son and all who have fought for freedom!

    Art by Karena

  8. I have a tear in my eye. Your words are beautiful and so moving. Yes we must never forget. xo

  9. With a grateful heart I celebrate this 4th of July. I have enjoyed reading your post. You have a wonderful way with words and paint a vivid picture ~ a pleasure to come to each post! I am thrilled you have linked to Think on These Things!

  10. What a beautiful post! So touching and so true.... This soldier's wife thanks you so much for remembering the many sacrifices that are made everyday for our freedom. Thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind comments. Many blessings, Lisa

  11. Liz, thank so so much for sharing the true meaning of freedom, and the 4th of July, so eloquently. The sobering truth is, "Freedom ain't Free". It is hard fought by our brave men and women who risk their lives each day.
    God bless them, and God bless America!

  12. Love this, Liz. My husband served 22 years in the military and this is not only a sweet tribute to the efforts of our soldiers, it is also a wonderful analogy of things that we take for granted covering and protecting us...like God's love. Thanks for sharing it. Gail (BibleLoveNotes)

  13. Dear Liz

    Thank you so much for sharing your awesome post with us at Inspire Me Monday! I just opened a special Independence Day Party and would love for you to share this there as well!

    My family has served our country in the Army and Marines since WW2 so your post means so much to me. Have a wonderful 4th and thank you for reminding us all what this day really means!

    Create With Joy

  14. Very thoughtful and eloquent. Happy fourth and thanks for remembering and reminding...

  15. Thank you so much, that was truly beautiful and so meaningful, never thought of the shadow.....

  16. What a beautiful, heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing these eloquent words and reminding us that our independence has come with much sacrifice.

  17. AMEN!!

    What a post!

    Tears to my eyes...

    God Bless our Military !

  18. You are so good with words. Thank you for this tribute to our military!


  19. What a great post and such a wonderful tribute to our military men and women. God Bless them all. We owe them everything. Hugs, Marty

  20. Hi Liz,

    Truly enjoyed reading this post. First time here, and am so very glad you decided to drop by my place for the first time yesterday. Looking forward to coming back.

    Have a great weekend,


  21. Hi Liz, I am slow but I want to thank you for sharing this touching post with Share Your Cup.

  22. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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