On May 20 Wyatt Patrick entered the world a month before he was scheduled to arrive, and he’s been pushing the limits ever since. He held that beautiful little head up when he was a couple of weeks old, he turned over before he was two months old, and when he does his tummy time he wriggles around trying to move and you can see him try to get those skinny little legs under him.
A few weeks ago a good friend of his father sent him a flag. This is the message his dad sent me with the picture above.
“This flag was flown by the first American forces to enter and assault Raqqa, Syria on 14 June 2017. It was raised to honor and celebrate the birth and lifelong freedom of Wyatt Patrick. OPPRESSORS BEWARE”
There have been a few great surprises along the way with having this little poo machine. The first has been how unbelievably adorable he is wrapped up in those animal towels after a bath. The second has been how incredibly well loved this kid is already by all our friends and family. It’s been humbling, really. This was given to Wyatt by a very great friend of mine, and even better American, that is a part of a fighting force that is truly the tip of the spear. These young men are fighting for a cause they believe in, and this flag represents everything that is great and unique about America. I hope I raise this kid to love the country as much as I do, and half as much as the steely eyed freedom fighter that fought under this flag in the face of our enemies.
As you can see from the picture, the first paragraph is the message written on the flag by the soldier for Wyatt. The next paragraph is the writing of my son, expressing his gratitude, pride, patriotism, and a vow for the future.
Aside from the very obvious proud grandmother reasons, I do have a much deeper motive for posting this picture.
From time to time, we need to be reminded what it is we fight for, who the battle is for, and a little about the unknown warriors who carry our flag into battle. And, just as importantly as any other reason, we need to stop and remember the honor, the spirit, the freedom, and the cost that flag represents.
I’m betting that, just like me, most of you started each and every school day with a Pledge of Allegiance, hand over your heart. On the 4th of July my husband and I were absolutely thrilled to hear our first grandchild, sweet Sadie, perfectly recite the Pledge.
It’s not often we hear it anymore, and some public figures and professional athletes dishonor themselves when it’s played now. Is it taught with the same fervor by teachers and parents? Do they instill the same love, modeling the patriotism that my generation found in every classroom, on every street corner, in the movies, and the parades?
I couldn’t be more humbled by the dedication on the flag to Wyatt, or more grateful. I could not be more proud of the words my son wrote about the gift, because that represents what we all live for and care about. The future of our children and grandchildren, who are the future of this country.
Wyatt’s father and mother will make sure that he knows the history, the honor, the fight, the cause, the hold fast against all odds struggle that stand behind this country. They will impart to him the stories, good and bad, and the love and the duty and the responsibility that come with the citizenship in the greatest country the world has ever known, his birthright.
Wyatt will be privileged to one day look up again (they met recently) at the steely eyed warrior who defended this flag in battle, and wrote the message to him. He will stand safely on his little legs looking up into the eyes of one of the men who guard so zealously the freedoms he will learn to appreciate, honor, and protect himself. His parents won’t wait for school to teach him all about the Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and what they mean for him, and how he must treasure and defend them for the future he will pass on.
And so today, my heart is full of gratitude, but most important, hope. We live in troubled times, divided times, angry times.
But that flag is still carried into battle with the same honor and fighting spirit the first patriots had, and our young Wyatt, his brother, his cousins, and millions of children out there from sea to shining sea are getting their first taste of the meaning behind the flag, from the beautiful, scrappy little boy whose father placed this banner across him to mark a moment in time for him, to his cousin who proudly recites the words she learned to honor that flag, to all the children out there who are learning the same lessons in your households.
Are they learning the lessons? Our young men and women fight on battlefields far away, but our battle here at home is what they are fighting for. If you do not know and pass on all that our freedom entails, then we are not doing our part. We have a fight and a duty too.
God Bless America.
De Oppresso Liber