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  • Writer's pictureRogene "Jeannie" McPherson, Country Notebook

Flags and Fathers

Updated: Jul 4


Country Notebook

By Rogene "Jeannie" McPherson


Flags on flagpoles line the cemetery where my father-in-law is buried. Each flagpole represents an individual honored for his or her military service.  “Mac,” as most people knew him, was drafted near the end of age eligibility into World War II. At more than 30 years of age and older than most servicemen, he served his country faithfully and honorably until the war was over.  Perhaps the best thing that happened during his military tenure was that he met and eventually married his soulmate while on leave in Minnesota. Mac’s flagpole is near his gravesite in the Franklin, Nebraska, cemetery.


Mac was a quiet man, often letting his emotions show in his body language rather than through words.  Perhaps that was how he was as a young adult even before the war, but the war changed him. He had planned to be a farmer, but instead came home to a job working for a natural gas company.  For certain was his inability to talk about his experiences in Europe and especially Normandy Beach in France. 


Fighting for freedom in a land other than one’s own must surely have been challenging, but perhaps so in that it was such a senseless war. An all-encompassing desire for power is a dangerous thing anytime, anywhere, but especially when power leads to innocent death or disability. It was anything but an all-expenses paid trip to tour Europe. My recollection of Mac’s few comments was of Paris, especially the Eiffel Tower and some jewelry purchased for his sweetheart.


During the later stages of his life, Mac talked more openly about his war-time experiences. About this same time, shadow boxes were a popular gift. For Christmas one year, his son crafted a box displaying Mac’s medals including his purple heart, and other artifacts from the war. If he ever cried, that would have been the infrequent occasion. 


While placing the traditional red, white, and blue bouquets on Mac and Rosie’s gravesites and viewing the many rows of flags waving lightly in a Memorial Day breeze, the word that best captures my emotions is “beautiful.” The flag of the United States of America is recognized as an expression of history, symbol of service, dedication to honor, and the privilege of freedom.


Mac was a good man and a good father, deserving recognition and ever-lasting love on Father’s Day. He made sure the American flag hung off his porch every Flag Day, never forgetting the sacrifices required when serving one’s country.  As Americans, we should proudly honor the American flag on Friday, June 14 for Flag Day and a father or an important father-figure on Sunday, June 16 for Father’s Day.  


It is a privilege to freely celebrate both days. 


Rogene “Jeannie” McPherson, from the Centerville area, is a regular contributor to the Linn County Journal. Her latest book Posts from the Country, Adventures in Rural Living is available online in both virtual and printed editions. Copies are on the shelves at all Linn County libraries.

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