A Proud American Flag 

I am an American Flag! I tell the same story as all my Brothers and Sisters. It only takes us a moment to tell the overall story and we all look similar, but each of us has had a unique mission that gives each of us a proud personal story. This is my proud story. 

My first call to duty was middle to late December of 1969. I started out in Vietnam an ocean away from my present home. I was assigned the honor to escort Warrant Officer Kenneth A. Luse home. We got to San Francisco when we were told to rest on this long journey and that we were to get a special escort from a long time friend. Our friend had to catch up to us from Vietnam. On December 30, 1969 we were ready for our journey to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We stopped in Denver to change planes and during the transfer someone put baggage on me and I was cut across my blue background. It was decided to continue on and receive attention in Cedar Rapids. I was not able to complete the entire mission, but a brother was called on to take my place and I was sewn together. I was not as good as new but still able to serve at 100% and my scar will be with me for the rest of my life. After the official ceremony on December 31, 1969, I, along with my brother, were given to my guardian family. Ah, a true home and time to rest after a busy month and long journey.

I stayed in the nice warm confines of my guardian's home for a couple of years. I lay around on my guardian's pillows during the day and on a dresser at night. The couple were deeply saddened by my presence and at the same time were uplifted with other memories I brought to their minds. My brother was neatly packed away in a cedar hope chest. After a couple of years it was decided to go back on active public duty. I was assigned to Cedar Memorial Cemetery. I spent many years flying in the Avenue of Flags there. I got to serve with brothers and sisters whose story is similar to mine. I even served with some older brothers and sisters who only had forty-eight stars. What an honor that was.  I received a few more wounds while serving but they were just minor tears from outside duty and easily repaired. My brother received an assignment to fly over a bridge on special days in Cedar Rapids. He still serves there to this day. This brings us to the late 1980's.

My guardian's son requested I come stay with him. I have been able to fly on his house a few times when not inclement weather. My new guardian took me to Cub Scouts so I could help teach the Scouts how to fold a flag in 2000. Even though my first scar prevents me from folding up neatly, they all were eager for their turn to fold me. I went back to visit the Scouts in 2002 to tell them my personal story to help them understand the overall job that me and my brothers and sisters perform. Now with 2003 being a new year my guardian decided I do a little public service. He passed a fire truck on the street and checked to see if the truck still was flying a flag behind. One that had been put there in September 2001. It was there. When he got home he called on me and told me I might do some work on a fire truck. The firemen were eager to have me watch over them, but my size was prohibitive. I was too long and would drag on the ground. It was decided I go on the flagpole. Ahhh. It felt good to be in the breeze and to serve in public again and my first experience with firefighters. My guardian brought his son to see me on my first day of the new mission. A fireman suggested that the son help him retire me for the night. Ahhhh. It was good to feel young, caring hands fold me. I watched over the fire department and the town for about a week, a short time but well worth it. I will be 34 years old and need to be watched over. I know that some day I will have a new guardian. I know that he will take very good care of me and will take me to serve others like my present guardian. I am old and dirty and sewn up, but I have a lot to teach this child and others for a long time to come. I am willing and able to do so with pride and honor for I am but One Proud American Flag and Warrant Officer Kenneth A. Luse serves with me wherever I go.  Maybe some day Warrant Officer Luse and I can go to Washington DC, to fly over the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and White House.

Yes, we all tell the same story. That story is comprised of all our personal stories. Our personal stories are from the past, present, and future. Our personal stories are what make the overall story the great one that it is. Next time you pass one us, stop a moment to reflect upon our personal story, we all have one. 

Glen Luse

In honor of Warrant Officer Kenneth A. Luse
Killed in Action, November 29, 1969, Vietnam

Copyright 2002-2003 Glen Luse