• September 11, 2001, That’s Why I Don’t Mind

    Putting Out Rotary Flags

    On the morning of September 9, 2011, Karen Wright of Dublin, Texas jotted down some notes along with her memories of another September morning. I was lucky enough to see Karen’s thoughts and she was kind enough to allow me to share them with you…FJ

    Why I Don’t Mind

    I’ve just gotten to the office after helping put out about 200 Rotary flags along Hwy. 377. Early this afternoon, a military and police escort will drive through town escorting the body of a young soldier killed in Afghanistan. He is from Mansfield but he asked to be buried at Gustine at the youth camp where he had lived for one year. So towns along the route are displaying flags in his honor.

    How particularly appropriate only two days before 9-11. Most of us who put out flags this a.m. also put out flags on 9-11, 2001. It happened just a few hours before our Rotary lunch meeting that day and no one felt like eating. So we decided to put out our flags.

    We grabbed people off the street to help us and we lined 377 and 6 with all the flags we had. People driving by were honking their appreciation and giving us the thumbs up…and there were very few of us, including our big strong Marine Jeff Pendleton, who weren’t crying.

    We all felt so helpless to do anything, but there was amazing comfort in just putting a pole in the ground, with its 3 X 4 piece of red, white and blue fabric. We weren’t doing much but it was all we knew to do.

    All of those feelings came back this morning and it surprised me. Maybe that’s the definition of patriotism.

    I do hope that the family of that young soldier finds some comfort in the support they will see along the highways today. And that the people who see those flags remember why we took our fight to the terrorists instead of having to fight them in the streets of the US. Those young men and women are dying so we can enjoy our pampered lives.

    May God bless us and continue to protect us.

    Jeff Pendleton replied to Karen’s memories.

    Thanks for sharing that with me. I’ve got a memory from that day I would like to share too. We were all, like you say, putting up flags on Patrick Street and the cars and trucks were honking their support.

    I mentioned to Dr. Jeff Hutchins that he was getting mud on his clothes, that he needed to stay clean for when he went back to seeing patients that afternoon.

    He didn’t break a step, his arms full of flags on metal poles, and he said he couldn’t worry about that. He had to be here right now, doing this. His patients would understand. And we went back to it.

    It was a terrible day. We will never forget it. But moments of it were awe inspiring and wonderful. And we should never forget them either.

    I feel so blessed to be where I am now, on an Air Force Base, surrounded by active duty and retired military, and supporting the fight.

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