Flag Day

Flag Day 2015

Today, June 14, is Flag Day. And this is my flag. Where’s yours?

I’m probably about to conflate a pair of memories, maybe three? Four? This is my Flag Day recollection.

I remember painting an aging wood flagpole, repainting really, with my father as a boy. 

He had lowered the pole for our chore, removing a long bolt near the base that threaded through three stout, round poles arranged in a line, the outer two waist-high and anchored in stone and concrete. The inner pole which didn’t quite touch the concrete was the flagpole. With the long bolt removed the flagpole could “hinge” rotating groundward on a second bolt near the top of the short poles.

I remember that my father lowered the flagpole and my mother repainted it. My brother and I helped. We were enthusiastic but inefficient assistants. I may have been six, my brother four.

After several coats of white paint, a shiny bronze pulley was secured to the top of the flagpole and a new rope was installed. My father lifted the rejuvenated flagpole skyward and replaced the bottom bolt.

The following morning, we headed out to the front yard before breakfast and my father played his trumpet. Taps maybe. And we raised the Stars and Stripes into a sunny, blue, windless sky. Dad stopped playing the trumpet and showed us how to cleat off the rope. Then he played the trumpet again, excited brassy flourishes that excited us even more than the flag that now hung limp at the top of the white flagpole.

My brother and I wanted to play the trumpet. We each tried and were frustrated with how difficult it was to produce even a panicky squeek. Our cheeks ballooned and our eyes bulged. Then my father played again, and we headed inside for breakfast. 

This is the one and only Flag Day I can remember, and it may not have even been the official Flag Day. 

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