A Simple Piece of Cloth

It’s just a simple piece of cloth folded into a triangle. And yet, as I watched the representatives from the military unfold the American flag, it was so much more than a piece of cloth. Unfolded, held firmly, crisply, by its four corners and tilted it so we could see the stars and stripes. Our flag, held up in honor and memory of one who had served in the Army during the Korean conflict.

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You may remember me telling you that Ed’s dad died at the end of September. We had a memorial service a few days later, but his ashes weren’t ready yet. Today, we buried my father-in-law next to his wife, right where he wanted to be.

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As I drove him to one of his radiation treatments, we talked about his wife, Virginia. He said he was going to ask her, when he saw her in heaven, if they had a good marriage. I told him that she would say yes. She was a wonderful mother-in-law, and I always wished I had the chance to know her more.

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The service at the graveside was short. There were tears and also smiles. We felt we had already said goodbye to a good man, and yet we were honoring him again today for serving his country.

That simple piece of cloth was folded up again, precisely, into a neat triangle. It was presented to my sister-in-law with words acknowledging her father’s service to our country.

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