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Honoring Veterans and Praying for Peace

Unwavering memories of helping a grandfather with American flags when those who served were honored.

Veterans Day

A grandson remembers helping his grandfather on Veterans Days past

My grandfather used to call us grandchildren “you old stick-in-the-muds.”

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It’s not an expression you hear much lately and it would seem an odd thing to call a bunch of kids as it is usually used to describe fuddy-duddy folks who are stuck in their ways.

Well, maybe we grandkids were stuck in our ways. Sometimes no one can be more conservative than a child who wonders “why can’t we do it just like last year?”

It seems appropriate to remember Grampie right now with the 99th anniversary of Armistice Day coming up, November 11, a holiday we honor today as Veterans Day.

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Grampie was a World War veteran and some hundred years ago he was on a battleship in the Atlantic patrolling U-boat-infested waters.

He was always proud of his service to his country and when the war was over, he returned to Pasadena, California, and became a very active member of the American Legion.

And that’s why that phrase “stick-in-the-mud” comes to mind.

Because on Veterans Day–or maybe Memorial Day–the American Legion put small American flags in the cemetery next to anyone who had fought for our country.

We kids would never have been drafted to put in the flags. We wouldn’t have known which grave was which and who would be honored.

But Grampie had us pick up all the flags in the cemetery at the end of the day.

Can you imagine what fun that was? Racing through the cemetery and picking up as many flags as we could find–and doing it because we were told to.

I don’t remember if I was pulling up any particular flag or not but as I grabbed hold of one and saw it lodged in the dirt I thought, “You old stick-in-the-mud!”

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Grampie is long gone now, buried in the Pasadena cemetery where we pulled up those flags, but like all those veterans–and the cemetery seemed to be full of them–I don’t forget him.

I rather hope I’m not a stick-in-the-mud but flexible and open-minded in all things except for this.

I know how important it is to honor our veterans from all wars and fervently pray for peace. There’s something about being a stick-in-the-mud that says being steadfast in your faith. 

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