Making a circle of flags

Earlier this week, I spent a day with some colleagues at work, making cards to send to soldiers who are stationed overseas. We began the day with a stack of blank sheets of cardstock, and ended up with many dozens of brightly-colored greetings. Or at least they had the potential to become greetings, because the insides were left blank, so that the soldiers can fill them out to send to a loved on back home. It’s a great idea, since going to a Walgreens or a CVS to pick up a greeting card probably isn’t an option for soldiers stationed overseas.

From the experienced and talented scrapbookers, to the people who struggle with drawing a straight line, we all wanted to give something back to those who serve this country so bravely. We rarely see them–which desensitizes us to the work that they’re doing–but we know they’re there, and their families are still among us, bearing the burdens that these absences surely cause.

I’ve never been in the military, but my grandfather served in the Navy during World War I, almost a century ago. It made me proud, on the day that Veterans Day was being observed, to give some time and effort on behalf of those in uniform. Sending the finished cards out, knowing they would help to abridge a long and perilous separation, was a very humbling experience.

Since I was coordinating the day’s card-making activities, I spent last weekend looking about for room decorations, craft supplies, markers, glue, different types of paper, and anything that might make the experience go better for those in attendance. And one of the things I found, or so I thought, was a string of lights with plastic American flags over the bulbs. I secured them, together with a box full of envelopes, at an estate sale. Estate sale purchases, like garage sale finds, are always a crapshoot, and this strand of lights was no different from the rest.

As I was setting up the room on the day of the event, I pulled out my strand of lights and found a place where they would look pretty good. I plugged the strand in and…nothing happened. I tried other outlets around the room, and still nothing happened. I then put the lights back into a box, thinking that it had been a quarter wasted.

But tonight, while putting some of the room decorations away at my house, I rethought my position about that. After all, the light bulbs themselves might not be working, but the flags covering them were still just fine. I separated the flags from the non-functioning lights, and considered what to do with them. Christmas is coming soon, and attaching them to a strand of lights on our tree is one option. Another is to get a different strand of lights, perhaps white lights used outdoors in the summertime, and attach the flags onto them, instead.

I couldn’t bring myself to throw these patriotic light-coverings away, but didn’t know exactly what to do with them, either. So I arranged the flags into something approaching a circle, took out my cellphone, and captured the image shown above. The flags themselves are now in my basement, awaiting further use in the future.

In the meantime, here’s a brand new picture of Old Glory (almost a dozen Old Glories, really) up on the internet, just waiting for online image searchers to access it for as long as the internet is in use. And here’s a story about them on my blog, as well. It now feels like the best quarter I’ve spent in quite awhile.


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