Our Nation’s Colors Folded

Living on a military base growing up there were some normal activities that others might find odd. Or just different. Peculiar.At 1700 hours the base would come to a stop. Soldiers in uniform would salute as the Star Spangled Banner was played as the US flag was saluted, lowered, folded and put away for the evening.If we were driving by, our car would stop and wait until the nation’s “colors” were put away.If we were playing on the playground, all activity would stop.In fact, even if it wasn’t 1700 hours and we were at a movie theatre, the show did not begin until the national anthem was played, the flag was displayed and the audience had stood on their feet with their hands over their hearts.In the morning, (long before I was up!) the flag was unfolded, ceremoniously raised with salutes and more anthems as the day began.I grew up to love the flag which represented the nation I love: The nation my father served in the U.S. Air Force and retired from as a Lt Colonel.This past week our family observed once more the folding of the flag we love.My brother and sister and I sat under a green canopy with a flag covering our father’s casket in Austin, Texas. We were surrounded by our spouses and children, our dad’s siblings, our cousins and friends.Air Force Blues marched with shiny, tappy shoes and rifles. Folded flag. Salute. Three rifle volleys. Taps by the bugler. The flag presented and rested one last time. Full military honors.Day is done, gone the sun, from the lakes from the hills from the sky, all is well, safely, rest, God is nigh.