On this Veterans Day eve, I tip my hat to Roosevelt County’s own folders of the flags, the honor guard from American Legion Post 31. They offer what is arguably the most moving of American ceremonies, military honors at the funerals of men and women who have served in any branch of the armed services.
Since its inception a decade or so ago, this group, which includes Joe Blair, Dennis Darrow, Harrie Black, Vivian Cato, James Kyte and David Myers, has folded 222 flags at local funerals.
With crisp uniforms and white-gloved hands, deliberate moves and tender dignity, they honor veterans and our nation in a touching ritual. The veterans’ last flag is meticulously folded, triangle upon triangle upon triangle, until the last corner is carefully tucked into place, and only stars remain, crisp on a field of blue.
When the haunting, lonesome notes of “Taps” float through the air, and Blair, a World War II veteran, reverently cradles that American flag in his crossed arms before presenting it to the surviving family “on behalf of a grateful nation,” I am never the only one who cries.
All is well, Old Glory. Safely rest. You are in the right hands.
Betty Williamson has never made it through “Taps” without a tissue. You can reach her at email@example.com.