Independence Day and Old Glory

 

IMG_1103Independence Day! A time for food, family and fireworks!

Who doesn’t love a good family get-together, cook-out, and then don’t forget to top off the evening with a spectacular show that lights the night sky.

However, sometimes we can forget the reason behind the celebrations of Independence Day, or for some it’s the  Fourth of July or simply The Fourth. I have referred to this day as all three but lately I’ve been trying to use Independence Day. Is there anything wrong with saying The Fourth or Fourth of July?  No, in fact, that is what this special day was referred to until 1791 when “Independence Day” began to be used.  When I say Independence Day rather than “The Fourth”, it helps me to remember why we observe this day.

We, like I’m sure many of you, have had several family members serve our country to protect that independence that was won in 1783.  Although my husband or I have never served in the United States Armed Forces, we are a patriotic family and feel it very important to remember those who have fought and are still fighting to defend our freedom.

What follows is a spontaneous act of patriotism my husband will share with you. Something he did at work, a few years back, that didn’t seem like such a big deal. Something he surely didn’t think would have had the impact that it has had on others.

Here is his story. We hope that it encourages you to show spontaneous acts of kindness to others and serve to remind you of the independence and freedom that could be lost at any given moment……..

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Well, I have always been  sort of a patriotic fella, but this was really a defining moment in my life.

One morning a few years ago now, a friend of mine retrieved an American flag from a box of rags that we use frequently at the factory where I work. My friend brought it to me to hang on my desk in front of my computer and I did. This replaced a flag I had hung on my desk that come from a newspaper. This was a couple of years after the attacks on September 11,  2001.

In the process of time after the attacks, our factory was awarded the contract to build the elevators for the One World Trade Center (“ Freedom Tower” is what we called it).  I work in the shipping department of our factory so I am one of the last people to see the elevator parts before they are shipped. After we began the manufacturing of the parts of the elevators (and I don’t remember what load it was but one of the first loads that was shipped), I decided to send that flag that was found in our rag box, the one hanging on my desk, to the crew that was working on the Tower. This was a spur of the moment thing, thinking about “9/11” and the people that died when the Twin Towers were attacked. I wanted to let them know we haven’t forgotten.  So, as we were loading up this particular shipment,  I ran and got the flag from my desk and stapled the flag on the last crate that my lift driver put on the trailer.  It was the center crate on the back of the trailer.

The crate with flag attached.
The crate with flag attached.

A year or so after sending this shipment with the flag to New York,  I was out on the shipping floor and got called to the shipping office.  I don’t get “called to the office” very often so I thought to myself…what have I done this time (not that I get in trouble a lot or anything but I do have my times of cuttin’ up as we call it round here).  I got in the office and the shipping traffic manager at the time asked if I sent a flag on a crate to New York for the Freedom Tower project? I reluctantly said yes waiting for the “you’re fired”.  Instead,  he said they absolutely loved it in New York and it meant so much to them! Man, I can tell you what a relief that was. The traffic manager also told me they unloaded the crate from the trailer, roped it off and left it there until it was time for that bank of parts so that no one could touch it.

I got word that a couple of the guys from the Freedom Tower project was planning to come down to thank me for what I had done. Months went by and I heard nothing so I thought that everything had been forgotten.

Quiet some time passed, and again, I was called to the shipping office.  One of the fellas in the shipping office said that there were two men wanting to speak to me, and that they were big men. Now I’m a rather small fella but generally big guys don’t really intimidate me. The key word here is guys, as in more than one big guy. I got to the office and the two guys were (to be politically correct) vertically superior to me. One of the guys was the project manager for the Freedom Tower and the other guy was one of the Elevator Union guys, they were both very nice. The Union guy gave me a “Freedom Tower” Elevator Union pin and I noticed on his laced up boots that he had an American flag on the laces.  I told him I that I liked the flags,  and do you know that he took his boots off right there in the shipping office and gave those two flags to me. I told him, man, you don’t have do that and he said back to me “ you don’t understand I have to do this after what you did for us”. I thanked them and they left and I went back to work.

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About a year later,  I got yet another call from the shipping office, they wanted me to go up front to “the carpet” and again I thought “Well, it’s been nice working with y’all!” But, what I got was something so very unexpected…….

It turned out that some of the guys from New York sent to me the end piece of that same crate with the same flag.  All the workers who attended the Topping Out Ceremony on the Freedom Tower job site signed the back of the crate. They also sent to me a flag that they flew during the ceremony, a picture of all them and a kind letter. So although I didn’t get to attend this ceremony nor the opening of the building, I felt that in some way I was there.

End of the Crate (signatures are on the opposite side) and the flag that was flown at the Topping Out Ceremony.
End of the Crate (signatures are on the opposite side) and the flag that was flown at the Topping Out Ceremony.

Little did I know the effect of that one spontaneous decision would have on all the workers at the Freedom Tower job site.  I didn’t know that the workers would be so touched by this. I didn’t mean for it to go this far.  I only wanted to let the people in New York know that we haven’t forgotten nor will we ever forget, what those cowards did that day! 

You know, one of these days I would like to go to the “Freedom Tower” to see all the guys. What I did was nothing. There were many more throughout the days succeeding 9/11 that did the heroic things! There was one fella that I have never had the privilege to meet, Charles Costello (he worked at the Twin Towers) that died helping people out. People like that are the ones that need our thanks! I think about 9/11 often, I have started just for myself to stop wherever I am and pray for the families that were impacted by that horrible event. If it were my decision, I would declare “9/11” a national holiday and shut down everything in the U.S.A. so to observe those who lost their lives and the lives of their loved ones.   

We proudly display the crate, flag and picture in our home. It serves as a reminder to us of what America stands for and the principles America was founded upon.  In May of 2015, my husband was also asked to attend our County Commissioners’ monthly meeting, bring the flag and tell the story.   Our local newspapers were even there and just this week my husband received a framed picture that said  “Building An Icon, memories from our experts about their work on One World Trade Center” and my husband’s picture is included (we don’t know who the picture is from).

We are proud to be Americans and proud of principles America was first founded upon and consider it an honor to remember those who have given their lives for our independence….but….

There is someone else who made the ultimate sacrifice for you. Don’t get caught up in America’s independence when we cannot be truly free without acknowledging the sacrifice of Christ. Christ died that you may be free. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. John 8:36

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34

There have been decisions made as of late that may make you question, “Am I really proud to be an American?”  God has blessed America in mighty ways and it grieves our hearts that America is moving farther from God each year. So, while I am proud to be an American, I am first proud to be a follower of Christ and to acknowledge the sacrifice that he made for us.

So, this Independence Day, not only take a moment to remember the sacrifices made to gain our independence as a country and what it has cost to keep that independence, but remember the ultimate sacrifice that was made especially for you.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1

We plan to spend time with family this Independence Day. HOW DO YOU PLAN TO SPEND YOUR INDEPENDENCE DAY?

Amanda

Amanda

You'll catch Amanda at mendedandblended.com writing about her
family's journey of being mended and blended together by the thread of the Word of God. They are a homeschooling family on this journey with 4 children talking about real life andseeking to encourage others.
Amanda
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3 thoughts on “Independence Day and Old Glory

  1. I have heard you tell the story more than once but this brought tears to my eyes!! Whom that the Son has set free is free indeed!!! Great post!!!

  2. How can we stand by and watch Old Glory disappear? Who are the people that watch you burst into flames? What are they fearing and what are their names? Why do they want to live where their beliefs are not the same?

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